Brewers' offense becomes more potent as Gary Sánchez is finally signed to a one-year deal

PHOENIX -- It took quite a while to get the deal over the finish line.

But on Wednesday the Milwaukee Brewers were finally able to consummate their signing of catcher Gary Sánchez to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2025, a move that not only significantly lengthens their lineup but also gives them another top-shelf catching option to pair with William Contreras.

"I mean, it's exciting to sign a player of this caliber with what he's done in the game," said manager Pat Murphy. "I hear he's a super kid. I don't know him, but I know him as a player from coaching against him. He's dangerous. When he comes to the plate, it's danger.

"I think he's a great addition."

It took a while to get the deal to the finish line, but slugging catcher Gary Sánchez has officially signed with the Brewers.
It took a while to get the deal to the finish line, but slugging catcher Gary Sánchez has officially signed with the Brewers.

Word that the Brewers and the 31-year-old Sánchez had agreed to terms first broke all the way back on Feb. 7. But since then it had been radio silence as Milwaukee reported to camp with six catchers, none of them Sánchez.

Sánchez was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured right wrist early last September while playing for the San Diego Padres, an injury that ultimately ended a comeback season for the two-time all-star.

It's unclear if the wrist played any role in the delay in his signing with the Brewers, but an educated guess would be no stone was left unturned in ensuring Sánchez would be good to go for 2024.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported later Wednesday that the deal, which was $7 million with an option, is now $3 million with $4 million available in incentives. It's likely those are tied to plate appearances and games played.

"Look, we have a great relationship with his agent Melvin Roman. And credit to him for continuing to have dialogue with us," general manager Matt Arnold said. "Certainly these deals, they go in different phases and different stages.

"We appreciate the communication that we had with Melvin and his group. They do a great job, love working with those guys, and we were able to get it done at the end of the day."

Sánchez was well-traveled in 2023, originally signing with the San Francisco Giants on April 1 before being released a month later. He signed a week later with the New York Mets, played three games for them and then was designated for assignment.

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He finally found a home in San Diego and in 72 games hit .217 with 19 home runs and 46 runs batted in to go along with an OPS of .792 before ultimately being felled by the broken wrist.

With Milwaukee, Sánchez should be able to be penciled into the middle of the lineup as he splits time with Contreras at both catcher and designated hitter.

"You guys all know that we value defense here immensely, and he's not just a one-dimensional player," said Arnold. "This guy is is very talented defender and then obviously comes with a bat and power that is imposing in the middle of a lineup.

"That combination, we feel like, is something that's going to be really productive for us this year."

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Arnold indicated Sánchez should be arriving in camp in the coming days. With Cactus League games not starting until Saturday, there will be plenty of time to allow Sánchez to acclimate and then integrate.

"We're still in the process of evaluating that in terms of his timetable," said Arnold. "We want to make sure that he gets in here and we get to know him, see how he's doing. So at this point, it's hard to put a timetable on that just yet. I haven't even had a chance to meet him and say hello.

"But I'm excited for what he can contribute here in 2024."

Once Sánchez the Brewers will have seven catchers in camp, including four on the 40-man roster. Prospect Jeferson Quero will begin the season in the minor leagues but Eric Haase is a veteran with the versatility to be able to play the outfield if need be.

Arnold was asked if he could foresee a scenario where Milwaukee could carry three catchers on its 26-man roster.

"There certainly is a scenario where we do," he said. "We're still so far away from opening day, so many things can happen. These guys are pros and understanding we have a long way to go before opening day. We're not close to making decisions on the final roster.

"Certainly, we value our options there and somebody like Eric Haase is certainly in the mix for us."

To clear room for Sánchez on the 40-man, Brandon Woodruff -- whose signing was officially announced earlier in the day -- was placed on the 60-day injured list.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers finally able to consummate signing of catcher Gary Sánchez