May 1 is an important deadline for the SF Giants. Power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez has an opt-out clause in his contract that he can exercise if he is not added to the 26-man roster, but will he actually opt-out?
SF Giants News: Power-hitting catcher has decision to make on Monday
It should be noted that veteran pitcher Joe Ross will also have a chance to opt-out on Monday as well. That seems unlikely as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. Though, May is an important milestone for Ross as he will reach the 12-month mark following surgery.
The recovery timeline from Tommy John surgery ranges from 12 -18 months, so Ross will enter that range shortly. For the time being, there has been no update on his status.
For Sánchez, the opportunity to opt-out is a very real possibility. MLB's new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) created a uniform set of opt-out dates including five days before Opening Day, May 1, and June 1.
The Giants signed the eight-year veteran earlier this month to a minor league deal that includes a $4 million salary if he is added to the active roster. At the time of the signing, the Giants' catching position was still an open competition as Joey Bart, Blake Sabol, Roberto Pérez, and Austin Wynns were all part of the mix.
A lot has happened since then as Pérez sustained a season-ending injury and Wynns became a free agent after he cleared waivers. At one point, it felt like a given that Sánchez would be added to the active roster considering his experience and track record, but that may no longer be the case.
Bart is off to nice start both at the plate and defensively, whereas Sabol has already recorded five home runs, which is tied for the team lead. However, Sabol's defense has become a question mark, which is hardly a surprise given that he had just a total of 94 games of pro experience at catcher prior to this season.
Sánchez has a track record of success that no other catcher in the Giants organization can compare. This includes four seasons of hitting at least 20 home runs as well as two All-Star selections. He was an offensive force earlier in his career.
However, that has not been the case recently as he has registered just a .681 OPS since the start of 2020. The 30-year-old has struggled behind the plate throughout his career, but he has improved in terms of pitch framing.
Since joining the Giants organization, Sánchez has registered a .180/.344/.200 line with zero home runs, eight RBI, and six runs in 64 plate appearances. It bears mentioning that the veteran catcher did not have a normal spring training as he went unsigned in the offseason, so he is behind the rest of the competition.
That said, it would be hard add him to the 26-man roster given how he has performed. He might have the track record to suggest that he has higher upside than Sabol or Bart, but the latter two are performing better at the moment. He has a chance to opt-out tomorrow, but he has not played in a way that would inspire other times to guarantee him playing time.