One of the main position battles for the New York Yankees has been settled as catching prospect Gary Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday.
By Christian Kouroupakis
The New York Yankees were trying out Austin Romine and Sanchez to see which one of them would back up Brian McCann this upcoming season.
Let’s just say, they made the right choice.
According to Brian Hoch of MLB.com, Romine is in lined to be on the opening day roster after Sanchez was demoted to Triple-A yesterday.
Sanchez is the No.3 prospect in the Yankee organization, but struggled mightily this Spring Training to the point where it would hurt to even have him up as a back-up.
RELATED: Sanchez Looks Inadequate This Spring
In 12 games this spring, the 23-year old slashed .048/.200/.048 in 21 at bats. He recorded only one hit and struck out twice.
Sanchez proved to his coaches that he is not ready to handle a major league roster spot yet, and will get to spend the rest of spring training in minor league camp.
Romine, on the other hand, has a slash line of .263/.299/.370 while getting some big hits and providing great defense.
He was the back-up catcher in 2013 for Russel Martin and has 77 games on his major league resume.
Sanchez is known as being a solid offensive catcher while and a not-so great defender, so doesn’t even deserve a roster spot with his bat being as awful as it looked. Romine is considered an above average defender, is out hitting Sanchez, and has experience as a major league back up.
There’s more to this decision than performance, though.
Romine, whose 27-year-old, could jump into the free agent pool if he was not placed on New York’s opening day roster after this spring. By general manager Brian Cashman making him the backup catcher, they get an extra year of team control.
In sending Sanchez down, they could delay the day he hits free agency if they keep him in the minors for 35 days. Cashman and manager Joe Girardi have said that won’t factor into the decision, but that’s hard to believe.
There’s nothing too surprising about this move. Cashman has declared that the best team will head to the Bronx for Opening Day, and Romine is the best option right now. Plus the business side works out for New York, too.
The next step is to hope Sanchez is only pressing and can return to his “MVP Potential” form for the Rail Riders in 2016.