It’s May 2nd and there’s a former All-Star and Silver Slugger catcher hitting free agency. Gary Sánchez signed a minor league deal with the Giants this past offseason, and it included a general stipulation that Sánchez had the right to opt out if he was not added to the Giants’ 40-man roster by May 1.
That deadline has come and gone and the Giants didn’t add Sánchez, so he went for free choice, according to The Athletic. He is now available to sign with any team.
Sánchez, 30, was once on his way to becoming one of the most feared sluggers in baseball. He hit 20 homers in just 53 games (201 at-bats) in 2016 and then went for 33 homers and 90 RBI in 2017, his first full season. He is a two-time All-Star who fell out of favor with the Yankees and was traded to the Twins prior to last season. In 128 games for Minnesota, he hit .205/.282/.377 (88 OPS+) with 24 doubles, 16 homers, 61 RBI and 0.9 WAR.
The Twins moved on after the season, and Sánchez was unable to find an MLB deal to his liking. In 16 games with Triple-A Sacramento this season, he hit .164/.319/.182 without a home run. He struckout 19 batters in 55 at bats.
Still, he’s 30 – not 40 – and not too far from a prolific MLB player. Just to name an example of a possible landing spot, the Angels currently have their first two catchers on the injured list. Their manager, Phil Nevin, was part of the Yankees coaching staff from 2017-2021. Angels beating coach Marcus Thames and assistant coach Jason Brown also crossed paths with Sánchez in his Yankees days, so there’s plenty of familiarity there.