After returning to New York to try and revitalize his MLB career, Gary Sanchez will now return to California — for the second time since April — to try and do the same.
The Padres claimed Sanchez off waivers from the Mets on Monday, according to multiple reports, and they could use him for catching help following a failed experiment in Queens that ended last week when he was designated for assignment.
The 30-year-old played in three games for the Mets and had one hit in seven plate appearances, while also starting behind the dish twice.
“Gary tried to do some things while Tomas [Nido] was out and now Tomas is back and we’ll go in a different direction,” Mets manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Chicago on May 25. “We’re trying to make the club as good as it can be each day. I think it is now with Tomas back. … I am glad we went down that path and I am glad Tomas is back.”
So Sanchez’s search for the hitting — and consistent playing opportunities — that defined the early stage of his career with the Yankees, where he made his MLB debut with the franchise in 2015 and became known as the prospect who injected power and home runs into the lineup starting in 2016.
But after All-Star appearances in 2017 and 2019, Sanchez couldn’t replicate that same success, and it led to the Yankees sending him to the Twins ahead of the 2022 season in the deal that brought Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the infield.
Sanchez logged 128 games with Minnesota, but he hit just 16 home runs, which marked the fewest in a season for his career — with the exception of the shortened season in 2020.
Before Sanchez signed with the Mets, he opted for a minor-league deal — that contained an opt-out – with the Giants, and he was released May 2 after hitting .164 in 16 games with Triple-A Sacramento.
Sanchez flashed potential, and home run power, in games with Triple-A Syracuse, going 6-for-13 in his first four games and earning a call-up when Alvarez was “dinged up.”
One week later, though, the Sanchez experiment was over, and he was looking for another organization.
This time, the Padres have an immediate need for improvements at catcher.
Austin Nola has appeared in 39 games for the Padres but hit just .131, while Brett Sullivan has played 20 games behind the plate and compiled just a .170 average.
Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April with a thumb injury, too.