By Chad Jennings
New York Yankees’ Gary Sanchez bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
This idea has been floated in the past, and it looks like the Yankees are going to try it: According to Scranton Times-Tribune reporter Shane Hennigan, the Yankees have called up catcher Gary Sanchez, who will be with the big league club for tomorrow’s series opener against the White Sox.
The Yankees have not announced nor confirmed the move. No corresponding move has been announced.
A few things to keep in mind:
The Yankees are facing back-to-back lefties
- With Chris Sale and Jose Quintana starting for the White Sox on Friday and Saturday, it makes sense for the Yankees to add an extra right-handed hitter. Sanchez has been red-hot lately. He has a nine-game hitting streak with three homers in his past eight games. He had two more hits tonight. The Yankees lost a key right-handed bat when Alex Rodriguez was hurt, and Sanchez replaces some of that right-handed power potential. The Yankees had previously faced only one lefty since the Rodriguez injury.
The Yankees are currently without their designated hitter
- Instead of assuming Austin Romine is being cut or thinking of the Yankees as carrying three catchers, remember that they’re currently playing without their full-time designated hitter. Sanchez most naturally fits this roster as A-Rod’s replacement, not as Romine’s replacement. It seems entirely possible that Sanchez could DH the next two days and then be sent right back to Triple-A on Sunday (or he could DH one day and catch the next). Either way, he brings some right-handed pop, which the Yankees needed.
The Yankees are currently carrying an extra reliever
- Who’s being sent down? The Yankees haven’t said, but it’s worth remembering that they’re currently carrying eight relievers. They could simply send one of them back to Triple-A to open space for Sanchez. Tyler Olson could return after a one-day call-up, but the Yankees might prefer to keep him as a long man while Phil Coke remains unavailable. My bet would be either Kirby Yates or Nick Goody being sent down to make room for Sanchez. Once Coke is ready to pitch again, Olson could return to Triple-A to be replaced by one of the other shuttle relievers.
The Yankees could still find a role for Rob Refsnyder
- Whenever Refsnyder gets passed over for a call-up, I seem to get a fresh flurry of tweets and emails about the Yankees being dismissive of Refsnyder’s hot bat. Thing is, Sanchez has also been hitting extremely well lately, and Sanchez’s power bat seems to be a more natural replacement for A-Rod. On Monday, the Yankees open a three-game series in a National League park, and they might not want three catchers — or two catchers and a DH — for a National League series. Might make sense to use Sanchez for two days against the lefties, then bring up Refsnyder to add some balance and versatility heading into the road trip. I wouldn’t rule out Refsnyder showing up eventually, but Sanchez’s power bat makes sense in the short term.