This season hasn’t gone according to plan for Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, leading Joel Sherman of the New York Post to wonder if the club could target Miami’s J.T. Realmuto or another starting-caliber backstop during the winter. It doesn’t seem that’s going to happen, though, as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman suggested to Sherman that he hasn’t lost any confidence in Sanchez. “If you are asking if [Sanchez] is a championship-caliber catcher moving forward, the answer is yes,” Cashman said. “Despite circumstances that have played out this year, we will stay with it and hopefully be rewarded for it.” After his bat helped propel him to elite catcher status from 2016-17, Sanchez has slashed an underwhelming .184/.280/.404 in 304 plate appearances this season. On the other side, the 25-year-old has drawn plenty of criticism for defensive miscues, including for his work in Oakland this past Wednesday. Still, it’s easy to see why Cashman remains bullish on Sanchez. With a .189 batting average on balls in play and a massive gap between his real wOBA (.298) and expected wOBA (.366), Sanchez has been one of the game’s unluckiest hitters in 2018, and he has still managed 15 home runs and a .221 ISO. Defensively, Sanchez’s issues may be a tad overblown, evidenced in part by the above-average marks he has earned from StatCorner.
More from the East Coast…
- Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes is out indefinitely with left hip inflammation, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports. With Boston all but locked into the top seed in the American League, Barnes’ loss isn’t much of a blow now. But it could be if the injury continues to linger into the playoffs, as Barnes leads Red Sox relievers in holds (25) and strikeouts per nine (14.19). He has also thrown the second-most innings (58 1/3) of anyone in Boston’s bullpen and logged an impressive 3.39 ERA/2.71 FIP.
- With righty Trevor Williams on a roll for the Pirates, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald revisits the 2015 trade in which the Marlins sent the hurler to Pittsburgh for fellow righty Richard Mitchell and the right to hire pitching guru Jim Benedict from the Bucs. Williams ranked among the Marlins’ top prospects at the time, making the deal look good for Pittsburgh. It looks even better now, given that the 26-year-old Williams has allowed a combined four earned runs over his past nine starts – a 54 2/3-inning span – to improve his ERA/FIP to 3.15/4.16 across 148 2/3 frames this season. Considering Williams’ current performance and his affordable team control through 2022, not to mention what the Marlins got in the trade, losing him looks rather regrettable for the Fish. Former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria expected Benedict to fix the Marlins’ pitching staff, per Spencer. It didn’t happen, however, and Benedict’s now with the Cubs. Mitchell, meanwhile, was a non-prospect who never threw a pitch with the Miami organization and hasn’t played professionally since the end of his Pirates tenure.
- Phillies outfielder Roman Quinn broke one of the toes on his right foot, but it’s an injury he can play through, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia was among those to report. Quinn suffered the injury on a hit by pitch on Wednesday and hasn’t played since, though manager Gabe Kapler said the Phillies “have every assurance that this injury is a tolerance issue and when he’s ready to play, he’s good to go.” Nevertheless, as Salisbury details, it adds to a laundry list of injuries for the 25-year-old Quinn – who has still recorded good numbers since debuting last season. Over 153 major league PAs, including 84 this year, Quinn has hit .307/.371/.455 (121 wRC+) with 12 stolen bases.
- The Orioles plan to re-sign pending free-agent catcher Martin Cervenka, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Cervenka joined the Orioles via the Giants in the minor league phase of last year’s Rule 5 draft, and has since amassed “lots of supporters” within the O’s organization, Kubatko writes. The 26-year-old may even debut in the majors’ next season, as Kubatko adds that Cervenka could have a shot to emerge as the Orioles’ backup catcher in 2019. In doing so, he’d become the first native of the Czech Republic to ever play in the majors. The highest level Cervenka has reached to this point is Double-A, where he put up a .258/.317/.457 line with 15 home runs in 375 PAs this season.