Gary Sanchez trades emotional for Yankees’ Aaron Boone

TAMPA — For as much of a lightning rod as Gary Sanchez became among the Yankees fan base, the homegrown catcher was a well-liked figure within the organization.

So while the team’s decision-makers were excited about the Sunday night blockbuster with the Twins that addressed multiple areas of need in one deal, they were also left having some tough talks with Sanchez after trading him and Gio Urshela to Minnesota.

“It was an emotional conversation,” manager Aaron Boone, one of Sanchez’s biggest supporters, said Monday afternoon. “Essentially thanking him, telling him I love him. I want to see him go have success. But I’ve always liked Gary and appreciated my relationship with him.”

The Yankees currently plan to move forward with a catching tandem of Kyle Higashioka and Ben Rortvedt, the latter a defensive upgrade over Sanchez who was part of the return from the Twins along with third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Sanchez, 29, will play out the final year of his rookie contract with the Twins after six roller-coaster seasons with the Yankees.

Gary Sanchez
Corey Sipkin/New York Post

“Since [Sunday] night, that chapter is done,” Sanchez told reporters at Twins camp when asked whether it felt like it was time to move on from New York. “It’s in the past.”

After signing with the Yankees in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic — a deal that GM Brian Cashman tended to personally and spoke nostalgically of on Monday — Sanchez arrived in The Bronx for good in 2016 and immediately made an impact, crushing 53 home runs in 175 games between 2016 and 2017. He was an All-Star in 2017 and 2019, but struggled mightily in 2018 and 2020, both offensively and behind the plate.

Sanchez made some strides last year, but not enough for the Yankees to commit to him for another season.

“He’s got a love of this franchise, a passion — he grew up in this place,” said Cashman, who added that Sanchez took the news professionally. “He cares for a great deal. … We’ve invested a lot of time and effort in him, and he has in us. All he’s ever wanted to do and all we’ve ever wanted to do is win as many games as we could together. He certainly helped us in that category quite often.”

Just not quite to the extent that many dreamed of when he was a Baby Bomber.

Aaron Boone
Corey Sipkin/New York Post

“Gary is a quality person,” Boone said. “A guy that’s been through a lot of adversity and to me, what it’s revealed is his character and the man that he has become and the maturity he developed over the years. He never stopped being a really good teammate. He never stopped working really hard at being the best he could be. Hopefully it does click for him as he moves on.”

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