The New York Yankees recently announced that they had tendered the contract of catcher Gary Sanchez, effectively returning the backstop to the Bronx for another season. Sanchez’s career as a Yankee has been a roller coaster filled with crazy feats of strength at the plate as a hitter and mind-bogglingly bad moments behind it as a defender. However, for all his warts, Sanchez was still one of the most talented prospects to come out of the Yankees system in quite some time. There are two reasons why the Yankees couldn’t give up on Sanchez and that talent.

Giving up On Sanchez Would Signal Another Organizational Failure

Think about it. The Yankees just had to stomach letting go of two guys who were in their organization for quite some time, Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade. No one was going crazy over Wade, but both he and Frazier were supposed to be contributors at the big-league level for the Yankees.

Neither player ever made good on the potential they showed, and a lot of the heat is being applied to the Yankees’ shortcomings as developers of talent. New York hasn’t been the best at identifying talent and drafting players- and when they do, the players the Yankees select either end up as trade bait or they fail to get better while moving up in the organization.

The Yankees couldn’t and cannot let that happen with Gary Sanchez. This is a guy who the Yankees touted as one of their best hitters, a guy who they believed could hit .300 someday. Yankees fans are laughing at that sentence right now because Sanchez has never even sniffed a .300 batting average, aside from his 2017 campaign.

Can anyone honestly say that Sanchez has lived up to the hype that accompanied him after he burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2016? Sanchez has fallen short of expectations and some of that blame should go his way, but it’s also an organizational problem, a development problem.

Letting Sanchez go would require the Yankees to admit another organizational failure, something they didn’t want to do.

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Sanchez’s Offense Is Worth It Compared To The Alternatives

Gary Sanchez is a below average defender. He has a strong arm but has been poor at blocking balls behind the plate and hasn’t graded favorably as a pitch framer. So, what does he do well?

Sanchez is one of the best offensive catchers in baseball when healthy. Per FanGraphs, Sanchez leads all catchers in home runs, is third in slugging percentage, fifth in RBI, and sixth in wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) since the 2016 season.

Even with his subpar defense, that is a tremendous offensive advantage to have at a position where seldom few move the needle with the bat. Not only that, but the free agent market for catchers was incredibly thin this season, with few players drawing the Yankees’ interest.

The only sensible option over Sanchez would be someone like Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs- and there’s even some debate as to if that’s a clear upgrade for New York.

Look, Sanchez has and probably will continue to frustrate Yankees fans. But the Yankees couldn’t give up on his talent and admit failure. Plus, they couldn’t realistically envision any of the less-than-ideal free agent options moving the needle at the catcher spot.

That’s why Gary Sanchez will be back with the Yankees in 2022.