Yankees’ Aaron Boone picks intriguing time to defend Gary Sanchez

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Yankees' Aaron Boone picks intriguing time to defend Gary Sanchez

Yankees manager Aaron Boone on Monday strongly defended Gary Sanchez, who may not be his catcher for much longer.

“I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot,” Boone told the YES Network. “I think at times it’s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well. This year was certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but that’s okay.”

Sanchez’s future with the Yankees is up in the air after a terrible season that ended with the two-time All-Star being benched during the playoffs.

The Yankees are contemplating trading the 27-year-old, as previously reported by The Post, or letting him become a free agent.

Dec. 2, Sanchez’s birthday, is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players — those who are not tendered would become free agents.

If tendered, Sanchez likely would receive a slight raise from the $5 million he would have been due in 2020, had the season not been cut short.

In four full seasons with the Yankees, Sanchez has used his power to help overshadow his defensive shortcomings.

But Sanchez hit .147 and struck out 64 times in 156 at-bats during the 60-game season, and showed little improvement defensively.

He was tied for the American League lead with five passed balls, having led the league outright with 16 in 2017 and 18 in 2017.

Boone has been an ardent defender of Sanchez since becoming manager in 2018 but benched him during the postseason in favor of Kyle Higashioka, the preferred catcher of ace Gerrit Cole.

The Yankees could potentially replace Sanchez with future Hall of Fame catcher and free agent Yadier Molina or veteran James McCann.

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