Joe Girardi has been inconsistent in handling Yankee players’ farewell tours

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Jack Curry of the YES Network, citing Michael Kay, reports that soon-to-be-retired Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez asked Joe Girardi if he could play third base on Friday, his final game. Girardi said no. ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reported earlier in the week that Girardi said, “My job description does not entail a farewell tour. My job description is to try and win every game and put everyone in the best possible position, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

I would be a lot more sympathetic to Girardi’s position if he treated Derek Jeter the same way. In 2014, Jeter’s final season, the future Hall of Fame shortstop played in 145 games and stepped to the plate 634 times, batting a meager .256/.304/.313. He was worth -0.1 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs, the worst mark among 22 qualified shortstops.

In 2014, the Yankees finished 84-78, 12 games out of first place in the AL East and eight games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. The Yankees didn’t have any eight-win options at shortstop — just Brendan Ryan and Stephen Drew — but the club could’ve vied for a serious upgrade in the offseason leading into 2014, or acquired one at the trade deadline. But they didn’t. The Yankees were wholeheartedly committed to giving Jeter his farewell tour.

This year, the Yankees have already traded Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova. They’re 57-56 in fourth place, seven games back of first place in the AL East and they’re 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. They’ve given up. Yet Girardi’s concern even after trading away arguably the best closer in the game, the best set-up man in the game, and one of the best offensive players in the league is that he’s trying to win games? His reasoning is incongruous when matched up with how he handled Jeter. There’s no defense behind not letting Rodriguez play every day this week if he wanted to, but even more so, there’s no reason not to let him play the field in his final game.

Lots of people don’t like Rodriguez and lots of people like Jeter, that much is obvious. Playing time, however, shouldn’t be decided by a popularity contest. But that’s exactly what it has been with Girardi’s Yankees.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.