Ranking Potential Free Agent Signings for the Astros Headed Into Spring Training

Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three
Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three / Elsa/GettyImages
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Gary Sanchez
Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

3) Gary Sanchez

I can hear the collective groans and sighs of disbelief now at seeing Sanchez' name as an Astros target, but unless you followed the Twins in 2022, you may not realize this is not the Gary Sanchez of old that simply could not play defense as a Yankee.

Sanchez has worked tirelessly at his defense, and was a respectable defender in 2022. He finished in the 50th percentile in framing and was 79th percentile in pop time.

From 2019-2021, Sanchez was a negative defender, finishing with a combined -16 defensive runs saved. In Minnesota, he finished with 1 defensive run saved. He may not win a gold glove, but he's no longer the liability he once was.

And of course, his bat is still there. He finished 2022 in the 92nd percentile in hard hit rate and barrel rate, 76th percentile in xSLG, 55th in xwOBA and 53rd in walk rate, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 61 runs. His .659 OPS was 104 points higher than Houston got from their catchers last season. His 16 home runs project to 20 in Minute Maid.

As Maldy continues to age, Sanchez could be a huge piece in helping keep Machete's legs fresh for the playoffs, and is more proven for a contender if something were to happen to Maldonado than either or Korey Lee or Yainer Diaz.

Three years ago, this would have been an insane take. But there actually is a world where Gary Sanchez helps Houston in 2023.