Less than two weeks after signing a Minor League deal with the New York Mets, former All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez is already headed to Queens:
The Mets are adding catcher Gary Sánchez to their active roster, source confirms. He'll be on the team tomorrow.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 19, 2023
Work broke late Thursday night that the team intended to call Sanchez up to the active roster in time for Friday’s series opener against the Cleveland Guardians. The slugger had gotten off to a fast start at Triple-A Syracuse, with a 1.014 OPS in his first eight games — and with both Omar Narvaez (calf) and Tomas Nido (vision issues) still on the IL, New York was in desperate need of both catching help and an offensive spark. Top prospect Francisco Alvarez should remain the Mets’ primary starter behind the dish, but Sanchez should at the very least be an upgrade over backup Michael Perez and his career .555 OPS.
Just how much of an upgrade remains to be seen. Sanchez is a long, long way away from the top-100 prospect who finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting and bagged two All-Star nods over his first four seasons. He’s slashed .195/.287/.394 with 321 strikeouts in 294 games from 2020 to 2022, and there’s a reason why no one was really fighting the Mets for his services this spring. (He began the season with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, but the team let him go after he hit just .164 over his first 16 games.)
Still, his power remains very real, and at just 30 years old it’s at least conceivable that Sanchez could succeed in a part-time role in which he’s shielded from tough pitching matchups. At 22-23 and third in the NL East — and with an offense that’s just 23rd in baseball in OPS since the calendar flipped to May — the Mets had to try something.