After a report surfaced Tuesday claiming the New York Yankees are interested in trading for Miami Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman backed incumbent catcher Gary Sanchez to remain in his everyday role behind the plate.
"It would be hard not to have Gary Sanchez as our catcher," Cashman told reporters at the winter meetings, including ESPN's Coley Harvey. "He's certainly someone that we've invested in and believe in and expect to be a part of this place moving forward."
Sanchez struggled defensively in 2018, leading MLB with 18 passed balls despite catching just 76 games due to two separate trips to the disabled list with groin injuries. He also underwent surgery on his non-throwing shoulder last month, but should be ready for spring training.
"He'll come into camp ready to go," Cashman said, "and we'll quote-unquote 'protect him.'"
The 26-year-old Sanchez also slumped as a hitter last season, slashing .186/.291/.406. However, he was an offensive juggernaut in his first two major-league campaigns, belting 53 home runs and driving in 132 runs across 175 combined games in 2016 and '17.