MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers have bolstered their catching depth with the signing of veteran backstop Gary Sánchez to a one-year, $7 million deal, sources familiar with the agreement said Wednesday night.
The team has yet to confirm the deal, which includes a mutual option, according to insiders.
The Brewers already have a standout catcher in William Contreras, who won the Silver Slugger Award. Adding Sánchez to the roster creates a formidable duo behind the plate, with the potential for either player to spend time at the designated hitter position. Milwaukee had been searching for an additional option at DH after some of their position players became free agents, including Carlos Santana, Josh Donaldson, Rowdy Tellez, and Mark Canha.
Sánchez faced a tumultuous start to the 2023 season. He initially signed with the San Francisco Giants in April but was then sent down to Triple-A Sacramento before being released on May 2. He later joined the New York Mets, but his tenure in the Big Apple lasted only three games before he was designated for assignment.
On May 29, the San Diego Padres claimed Sánchez off waivers. It was in San Diego where Sánchez found more consistent playing time and had a resurgence in his performance. In 72 games, he hit 19 home runs with a .792 OPS before suffering a right wrist fracture in early September that ended his season.
Sánchez has a decorated history, having been a two-time All-Star with the New York Yankees in 2017 and 2019. During his time with the Yankees from 2016 to 2019, he averaged 26 home runs and posted an .847 OPS as the team’s primary catcher. However, his offensive production dipped and defensive struggles led to a trade to the Minnesota Twins in March 2022. After one season in Minnesota, he moved on to the Giants, then returned to New York, and eventually landed in San Diego last summer.
Over his nine-year career, Sánchez has a .225 batting average, with 173 home runs and a 109 OPS+. While he has been criticized for his defensive skills, Sánchez improved in the 2023 season, earning two Catcher Framing Runs and two Catcher Stealing Runs in just over 526 innings. His 1.90-second pop time was also one of the best of his career.
The addition of Sánchez strengthens the Brewers’ catching corps and provides valuable veteran experience to the team. With two powerhouse catchers, Milwaukee is poised to make a strong push for success in the upcoming season.