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Gary Sánchez opts out of $4 million deal with Giants; Giants call up Cole Waites

The once power-hitting catcher will try to regain his form elsewhere after the team informed him they would not be adding him to the roster.

Dominican Republic Workout Day Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Per Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, Gary Sánchez has been released by the San Francisco Giants, per his request, after they told him they would not be adding him to the roster after the May 1st opt out built into his $4 million contract that he signed back on March 31st.

Back in January, Brady said of him:

Sánchez is not the player he was in 2017, when he made the All-Star Game, won the Silver Slugger, and collected a down-ballot MVP vote. He’s not even the player he was in 2019, when he went to his second All-Star Game.

But he’s still a good player. In 2022, his first year with the Twins, Sánchez hit just .205/.282/.377, good for an 89 wRC+ ... but thanks to solid defense, he was worth 1.3 fWAR.

He had 69 plate appearances in 16 games with the Sacramento River Cats and simply did not hit. He had just nine hits with one extra base hit (a double) for a line of .164/.319/.182.

I’m not sure where he stood, defense-wise, and I had started to wonder with Yastrzemski’s injury if it opened up an opportunity for Sanchez despite the dismal line because he’d surely be an improvement over Blake Sabol behind the plate (with Sabol getting more time in the outfield). Statcast has him as merely average (59th percentile in framing), and FanGraphs has him about there, too (-0.3 Defensive Runs); but, that prorated $4 million dollars (which would’ve worked out to about $3.33 million had he been called up to the big league team) is a decent enough chunk of change that I can see it being one extra reason why the Giants opted not to roll the dice on a call up. That’s something a previous front office might’ve done because of Sanchez’s veteran pedigree. His performance simply didn’t merit the risk.

He also doesn’t seem to be able to hit. Friend of the site and Giants prospect guru Roger Munter took a look at Sanchez’s situation back on April 25th:

I pondered on a recent episode of a Giants podcast if Sanchez would opt out, my thinking there being that he’s unlikely to get a similar offer from another team and with just a little more patience on his part, it’s not difficult to imagine the catching situation shaking out in his favor; but, the Giants did move their top catching prospect Patrick Bailey up to Triple-A and Ricardo Genovés has already been there hitting well (.300/.408/.400 in 49 PA). The writing was on the wall, and even if he takes less money, he has a better shot of accruing major league service time elsewhere.

Meanwhile, after a five-run scorching by the Astros in a single inning of relief work last night, and after a 15.19 ERA in his last three appearances (5.1 IP), the Giants have optioned Sean Hjelle to Triple-A. Taking his spot will be power arm Cole Waitses, the 15th-best prospect in the organization, according to the McCovey Chronicles community. MLB Pipeline has him at #21, but also grades his fastball as a 70.

He had a 9.31 ERA in 9.2 IP for the River Cats at the time of his callup, including 12 walks against 10 strikeouts.

The Giants play the Astros in game two of a three game series in Houston at 5:10pm Pacific.