Mets ink former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez to minor league deal

·2 min read

The Kraken is making his way back to New York.

Gary Sanchez signed a minor league contract with the Mets on Tuesday. The 30-year-old former Yankees catcher exercised his May 1 opt-out with the San Francisco Giants after they elected not to add him to their 40-man roster. He had signed a minor league deal with the Giants at the end of March and slashed .164/.319/.182 in 16 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season.

The two-time All-Star has veered far off the track he was on during his early days with the Yankees.

The Dominican native owned a career .230/.318/.487 slash line during his rocky seven-year career in pinstripes, including his spectacular debut in 2016 when he set the world on fire by hitting 20 homers in 53 games.

The backstop is an original ‘Baby Bomber,’ as he was a key contributor during the Yankees' 2017 and 2019 runs to the ALCS — which resulted in losses to the Houston Astros. Both of the aforementioned seasons were his All-Star years. In 2017 he posted .278/.345/.531 averages with 33 homers and 90 RBIs while two years later he blasted 34 homers with an .841 OPS.

Sanchez’s defensive struggles were tolerable when he was swinging the bat at an elite rate, but passed balls — he led baseball with 18 in 2018 despite playing just 76 games behind the dish — were always an issue. However, once Sanchez stopped performing at the plate — .618 OPS in 2020 and .731 OPS in 2021 — the Yanks moved on.

The Bombers shipped Sanchez off to the Twins in March 2022 along with Gio Urshela in exchange for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt.

The slugging catcher spent just one season with Minnesota in which he slashed .205/.282/.377 with 16 homers in 128 games.

Now Sanchez attempts to break through with the Mets, and with MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 prospect Francisco Alvarez fighting to take control of the position — .220/.264/.320 in 18 games this season — it may be an uphill battle for the Kraken.