The Mets announced Thursday that they’ve claimed veteran second baseman Yolmer Sanchez off waivers from the Red Sox and opened a spot on the roster by designating catcher Patrick Mazeika for assignment.
The 30-year-old Sanchez is a former Gold Glove winner at second base who never got going with the bat in his brief time with the Red Sox. In a small sample of 37 plate appearances, he went just 4-for-37 with an 11.4% walk rate, 29.5% strikeout rate and no extra-base hits.
Sanchez’s peak years with the bat came in 2017-18 with the White Sox, when he posted a combined .253/.312/.390 batting line while playing second base on a near-everyday basis. Granted, even that career-best production was about nine percent worse than league-average, by measure of wRC+, but for a player with Sanchez’s speed and defensive skills, that was plenty to make him a solid regular. His line dipped to .252/.318/.321 in 2019, but Sanchez also won a Gold Glove that year, so the Sox likely didn’t mind the tepid output at the plate.
In the time since winning that Gold Glove, though, Sanchez has barely seen the Majors. He logged just 21 plate appearances with the ChiSox during the shortened 2020 season and spent the 2021 season with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate where he posted a grisly .216/.309/.352 line in 355 plate appearances. Things were going much better for Sanchez with Boston’s Triple-A club, for whom he’d turned in a .247/.377/.413 line in 305 trips to the plate.
The Mets’ infield is banged up at the moment, with Luis Guillorme out as long as six weeks and Eduardo Escobar on the injured list due to an oblique strain. New York recently called up top infield prospect Brett Baty to man the hot corner — Baty homered in his first MLB at-bat last night — and have Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso to round out the infield. Guillorme’s absence takes away the Mets’ primary backup to Lindor at shortstop, however, but Sanchez can give them a capable bench option to back up any of Baty, Lindor and McNeil while they work toward getting back to better health.
As for Mazeika, the 28-year-old has had some brief looks with the Mets over the past two seasons but has never provided anything with the bat. He’s a .190/.236/.279 hitter in 159 plate appearances at the MLB level. Mazeika does have a more palatable .272/.367/.414 output in parts of two Triple-A seasons, and the Mets have been pleased with his defensive skills. He’ll be placed on waivers within a week. Any team that claims Mazeika could option him freely in 2022, but he’ll be out of minor league options next season.