Wednesday marked an important day for MLB’s offseason. The non-tender deadline has come and gone with some very surprising names now being free agents. According to MLB.com, when a club “non-tenders” a player, it declines to give that player a contract for the upcoming season, thereby immediately making him a free agent. Arbitration and pre-arbitration players do not need to sign a contract before the deadline, but they at least need to have an offer.
The New York Yankees made decisions on several of their non-tender candidates. Among those include catcher Gary Sanchez who’s future with the team has brought great debate. So, let’s take a look at the New York Yankees roster moves and what it could mean for the future.
After yet another disappointing season in which Sanchez hit .147 with ten home runs, 24 RBI and 64 strikeouts, the Yankees extended an him offer. The 28-year old Sanchez has had an up and down career to say the least. He is a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger award winner with 115 home runs in his five full seasons in pinstripes. However, his production, both at the plate and behind it, have declined nearly every year.
In fact, Sanchez’s performance was so uncertain, he was benched in the playoffs in favor of backup catcher Kyle Higashioka. Sanchez didn’t do himself any favors when he did get playing time in the postseason going 1-for-8 in three games. His lone hit being a home run. Obviously, the Yankees feel that they can still squeeze some production out of Sanchez. Yankees manager Aaron Boone has publicly endorsed Sanchez and feels that he has been wrongfully criticized.
With the contract offer, the likelihood of the Yankees signing J.T. Realmuto, Yadier Molina or James McCann becomes very slim. For at least one more year, Sanchez will be option number one for the Yankees behind the plate.
Luis Cessa: One-Year, $1.05 Million
Ben Heller: One-Year, $625,000
The Yankees did agree to terms with two of their right-handed pitchers thus avoiding arbitration. Luis Cessa agreed to a one-year, $1.05 million deal. Also, Ben Heller accepted a one-year deal in which he will receive $625,000 in the majors and $225,000 in the minors.
For his career, Cessa is 7-12 with a 4.40 ERA and 207 strikeouts in five seasons. This past year, Cessa did not make his debut until August 5th after testing positive for COVID-19. The 28-year old Cessa appeared in relief 16 times allowing 20 hits with 17 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. It is expected that the Yankees will use Cessa mostly out of the bullpen, but as a spot starter as well.
In four seasons, all with the Yankees, Heller has appeared in 31 games. He is 2-0 with a career 2.59 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. The 29-year old Heller will once again be an option out of the bullpen for the Yankees in 2021.
The Yankees did not offer a contract to right-handed pitcher Jonathan Holder, making him a free agent. In five seasons with the Yankees, Holder appeared in 157 games. He owns a career record of 10-6 with a 4.38 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 176 2/3 innings. In 18 relief appearances in 2020, Holder was 3-0 with a 4.98 ERA striking out 11 in 21 2/3 innings.
Obviously, the biggest name on this list is Gary Sanchez. The fact that the Yankees have decided to stick with Sanchez as opposed to letting him walk shows that they are willing to take one more chance on their polarizing catcher. Also, it shows that the Yankees will most likely not be players in the free agent catching market. Moving forward, Yankees fans can only hope that The Kraken finds some of the magic he had earlier in his career.
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