Chicago Cubs Rumors: Gary Sanchez an option for catcher?

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Among the free agent catchers out there, the one with the most pop in his bat, without a doubt, is Gary Sanchez. We know the Chicago Cubs value defense now at the position, but there are a few dingers to be hit if Sanchez winds up on the north side.

Offensively, Sanchez appeared in 128 games this season and slashed a rather poor .205/.282/.377. Going back to 2018, Sanchez has slashed a combined .202/.295/.427. Yes, he's had a couple of seasons where he hit over 30 HRs. There is no reason to think he doesn't still have 20 HRs per season in his bat. Other than that, the batting average is so low these days that the only way to make up for it is to have at least above-average numbers defensively.

Unfortunately, that's not quite the case for Sanchez on the defensive side of things. He managed one catcher-framed saved run in 2022, albeit in 2,200+ pitches. To make matters worse, that number improved from the -6 he recorded in 2021. He did have 4 in 2019 but recorded -6 before that in 2018. Furthermore, He is one spot behind Willson Contreras among active leaders in caught-stealing percentage, good for just the 16th-best in the league. Essentially, unless he's hitting 20+ HRs and driving in a vast number of RBIs, the lack of batting average, on-base percentage, and poor defensive metrics don't make it worth it for me.

The Cubs have made it clear they are high on pitch-to-contact pitchers, coupled with an outstanding defense up the middle, proven by the signings of Jameson Taillon and Dansby Swanson. Signing somebody who doesn't fit that mold behind the plate is counterproductive. The Cubs will likely have to address their need for another catcher this offseason. Their best bet is to look to Toronto's surplus of catching and put together a package for either Danny Jansen or even Alejandro Kirk, if available.

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If they don't go the trade route, expect the Cubs to wind up with Tucker Barnhart or Roberto Perez. Both match the defensive profile the Cubs are looking for and will further emphasize defense in 2023. Though you may not get production on the offensive side, the upgrade in pitch-framing should allow Cubs pitchers to find themselves in more pitcher counts while simultaneously seeing a slight uptick in strikeouts. Nevertheless, the Cubs' offseason appears quite far from over. They will need to address at least their catcher and corner-infield necessities if they look to compete next season. All in all, they're off to a great start.