Report: Giants, free agent Sanchez agree to minor league deal


NEW YORK — The Giants had three catchers on their Opening Day roster but it’s not a group they’re fully comfortable with. Hours after their first game of the season, they reportedly added another option. 

Free agent Gary Sanchez was signed to a minor league deal, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, and will report to the Papago Park facility in Scottsdale to start preparing to join an affiliate, which would certainly be Triple-A Sacramento. Per Rosenthal, Sanchez can opt out of his deal if he’s not in the big leagues by May 1.

Sanchez, 30, has spent most of his career with a New York Yankees organization the Giants faced Thursday. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2016 and was an All-Star for two of the next three seasons, but his production tailed off and the Yankees opted for better defenders.

Sanchez has four 20-homer seasons and two with 30-plus, with a .778 OPS in the Majors. 

He played 128 games for the Minnesota Twins last year and hit 16 homers, but his on-base percentage dipped to .282. Sanchez had a bad defensive reputation in New York and people who saw him often last year say he still struggles with blocking, although he has improved as a pitch framer. 

The Giants have Joey Bart, Roberto Perez and Blake Sabol on the big league roster, but Sabol is inexperienced and has been focusing on outfield work in recent weeks and Bart surprisingly didn’t catch the opener. Perez got that assignment.

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The past two days are the latest indication the organization is looking for options other than Bart, a former No. 2 overall pick who had a disjointed path to the big leagues. Some Giants officials believe the long-term answer will be Patrick Bailey, and he may arrive as soon as the second half, but it first looks like the Giants will at some point take a look at Sanchez, hoping to capture some of that power while also putting him with a coaching staff that has a strong reputation for helping players improve defensively. 

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