Gary Sanchez was ready to catch the slider Aroldis Chapman threw to Jose Altuve in Game 6 of the ALCS down in Houston. Instead, it went over the wall and ended the Yankees' hopes to reach the World Series last season.
But, of course, with the sign-stealing scandal shocking the baseball world and heavily affecting the Yankees, Sanchez fielded questions about his reactions to the situation at the team's spring training facility in Tampa on Wednesday.
A former teammate in CC Sabathia voiced his frustrations about feeling cheated out of a potential World Series title, and Sanchez holds that same sentiment.
"I mean, what can I say? For me as a hitter, if I know what's coming, you have a higher chance of being more successful at the plate," he said through the Yankees' interpreter. "So, maybe, yeah."
For that specific Altuve at-bat, Sanchez admitted that he heard Altuve say he was looking for a slider. And he even delved into the speculation that Altuve was actually wearing an electronic buzzer underneath his jersey. Altuve told his teammates as he rounded third base not to touch his jersey, and claimed his shyness was the reason behind that.
Sanchez said he wasn't sure about it all, but had this to say about his own at-bats going forward:
"I can tell you if I hit a home run to get my team to the World Series, they can rip off my pants," he said. "They can rip everything off."
Hopefully things won't have to be taken that far, but sign-stealing is an issue MLB will definitely have on high alert this season. Sanchez isn't sure if it's a league-wide issue, but the Yankees did implement a system to switch their signs to counteract it.
"We had a really good system in place to protect our signs -- we thought -- but we'll see."
The past is the past at this point, though. Sanchez and the rest of the team are ready to put that 2019 season behind them and look forward to a new year where the team has even higher expectations to reach the World Series, especially with Gerrit Cole on board as the team's ace. Sanchez got to catch the $324 million dollar man for the first time on Wednesday.
And that's the type of stuff he is going to keep focusing on this spring training: getting better chemistry with his pitchers, preparing for the new year, and most importantly, keeping the sign-stealing scandal in the rearview mirror.
"It's tough, but you have to put that away," he said. "We need to focus on 2020, to focus on the team that we have now and the upcoming training and get ready for the 2020 season."