Is Gary Sanchez on the verge of, once again, losing his job?

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Ryan Morik
·2 min read
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Gary Sanchez dejected after striking out
Gary Sanchez dejected after striking out

It certainly looks like Gary Sanchez is catching just one of the Yankees’ next four games.

Kyle Higashioka is catching Corey Kluber on Tuesday. The Yankees will have a day game on Thursday following Wednesday’s night game – Sanchez will likely catch the night game on Wednesday with Domingo German on the bump. Certainly, Sanchez would not go behind the plate the next afternoon.

Gerrit Cole is pitching Friday, so Higashioka is basically a lock to catch Friday.

With these factors lining up, whether coincidentally or purposely, it’s fair to speculate that Sanchez is, once again, on the verge of losing his job.

If the season ended on April 3, Sanchez would have been an MVP candidate – he hit a home run in each of the Yankees’ first two games.

But since then, he his putting up numbers that are worse than his abysmal 2020 – he is hitting .146 and has just one extra-base hit in his last 15 games.

Manager Aaron Boone won’t call it a benching. More so, he said Higashioka has “earned more playing time.”

"Simple as that. Obviously Higgy’s done a great job. His improvements over the last couple of years on both sides of the ball have been strong. I think the way he’s played here on the onset of the season has earned him some more opportunities,” Boone said.

It’s a small sample size for this year, but Higashioka is not only putting up better offensive numbers than Sanchez, but he’s been the team’s best (maybe only) hitter. He has a 1.210 OPS in 25 plate appearances.

Sanchez ultimately lost his job to Higashioka late last season, and rightfully so. After he had just one hit (a home run) in eight postseason at-bats through Game 2 of the ALDS, the Yankees had enough, and Higsahioka was the catcher. The latter slashed .278/.316/.444 in five postseason games last year.

Boone echoed similar sentiments in October regarding the two catchers.

But we are getting closer to the end of waiting for 2016-17 Sanchez to reappear.

Sanchez was an elite offensive catcher as recently as 2019 – he hit the most home runs of any catcher despite missing 56 games. He ranked second among catchers in slugging percentage (.525) and third in OPS (.841).

But in his last 68 games, including the postseason, he’s hitting .155 (34-for-219) with a .619 OPS.

Sanchez is seemingly unplayable right now – Higashioka is not. And the Yankees look like they're ready to admit it again.