Saturday, March 2, 2024

Gary Sánchez to sign with Brewers: Veteran catcher agrees to deal, per report, will likely split time at DH

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Veteran catcher Gary Sánchez has agreed to terms with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Sánchez, whose deal will pay $7 million and includes an option, per Heyman, is the second notable free agent to join the Brewers in recent weeks, alongside former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins. (The Brewers also traded away ace Corbin Burnes, weakening their roster in the process.)

Sánchez, 30, was with the Yankees for the first seven years of his career, but he’s moved around since. He played 2022 for the Twins before beginning 2023 with the Giants‘ organization in Triple-A. When he was not summoned to the MLB roster by May 2, Sánchez opted out of his deal and signed with the Mets. After three games with the big-league club there, he was designated for assignment and ended up with the Padres

In 72 games with San Diego, Sánchez hit .218/.292/.500 with 19 homers. He struck out 64 times in 260 plate appearances while posting a sub-par average and OBP, but he showed the big-time power was still there. That big slugging percentage pushed him to a 116 OPS+ and helped him — along with good framing metrics behind the plate — to post 2.5 WAR in less than half a season. 

CBS Sports ranked Sánchez as the 30th best free agent on the market. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

Sánchez changed organizations twice last May: first by signing with the Mets after he was released by the Giants, and then by joining the Padres on a waiver claim. While that speaks to how far the two-time All-Star’s stock had plunged, give him credit for reestablishing himself by homering 19 times in 72 games out west. Sánchez’s strength has never been in doubt, but he even made a career-high amount of contact on pitches located in the zone. He also graded as an above-average defender, with the exception of blocking balls in the dirt. The catcher market is so barren that it should not surprise anyone if Sánchez lands a multi-year deal. How’s that for a mighty turnaround?

Sánchez figures to see time behind the plate as part of a timeshare with William Contreras as well as at DH.  

At this point, it’s obvious Sánchez will never be close to the star it looked like he’d become back in his early Yankees years, but he really did wonders for his value with that stint in San Diego and, heading to his age-31 season, he’s not too old to be productive.

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