The trouble with Gary Sanchez isn’t the catcher himself, but the degree to which his unprecedented performance may be overshadowing the significant flaws that remain on the team. Many theories have been advanced to explain the Yankees’ improbable resurgence after surrendering at the deadline, but the only credible explanation is Sanchez. Without him, and his historic debut, the Bronx Bombers would probably be close to the bottom feeders that many expected after their late-July purge.
If you remove Sanchez’ performance from the team’s offensive totals, the sudden improvement mostly dissipates, and that’s without replacing his production. Although it’s possible that more at bats for Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Austin Romine, etc. would have mitigated the absence of Sanchez, their performance this year suggests the problem would have been exacerbated. Also, while other players have contributed during the Yankees’ recent hot streak, the aggregate aside from Sanchez has pretty much been the status quo. So, as the Bronx Bombers’ brain trusts looks to 2017, they shouldn’t assume Sanchez will continue his extraordinary performance, and more importantly, overlook the fact that the rest of the team remains offensively deficient.
If the Yankees ride Gary Sanchez’ production from a white flag to a checkered one, the accomplishment won’t be lessened by its concentration around one player (two players if you include Masahiro Tanaka’s season long performance on the pitching side). However, simply being in the wild card race isn’t worthy of a victory lap. And, the team’s resurgence since unloading at the deadline should not be viewed as a harbinger for next year. The Yankees still have a lot of work to do during the offseason, and if the goal really is to build an “uber team”, Sanchez is going to need a lot help.