Heyman: Yankees discussing Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Matt Garza


Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees are discussing free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Matt Garza as they look for ways to improve their team this offseason. They’ve also been connected to Stephen Drew, Paul Maholm, Shin-Soo Choo, and Masahiro Tanaka in recent weeks. Free agents can start signing with new teams on Tuesday (Tanaka has to be posted).

Ellsbury, 30, hit .298/.355/.426 (113 wRC+) with a league leading (and ridiculous) 52 steals in 56 attempts this summer. He dealt with a compression fracture in his foot in September and played through a hand injury in the postseason. Ken Rosenthal says he’ll have an MRI in the coming days. McCann hit .256/.336/.461 (122 wRC+) with 20 homers in 2013 and showed no ill effects from offseason shoulder surgery. He turns 30 in February. The 29-year-old Garza had a 3.82 ERA and 3.88 FIP in 155.1 innings split between the Cubs and Rangers this year. He missed the start of this season with a lat strain and the end of last season with an elbow fracture.

Ellsbury and Garza both have plenty of experience in brutal AL East races and McCann is an elite player at a position of great need. The appeal is obvious. The Yankees already have two no power outfielders on the roster and I’m not sure what they’d do with a third, especially since Ellsbury is likely to require a nine-figure contract and forfeiture of a first round pick. McCann is worth the draft pick and simply makes a ton of sense. Garza will not require giving up a pick since he was traded midseason. The team could be considering him an alternative to Tanaka more than Plan A, so to speak.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Karl Krawfid says:

    Would love Tacoby and Gardner in the same outfield.

  2. mustang says:

    “McCann is worth the draft pick and simply makes a ton of sense.”

    Not too sure I agree.

    I think this write-up nails it:

    “But given his position, his recent decline in durability and an expected drop in production as he enters his 30s, he appears to be the most likely of this off-season’s big-ticket free agents to end up becoming an albatross for the team that signs him.”
    “McCann is that his value on offense is somewhat contingent on his ability to remain behind the plate. This season, he batted .256 with 20 home runs and 57 runs batted in, accounting for 2.2 wins above replacement. When you consider that he played in just 102 games, the third season in a row in which he played fewer than 130, McCann becomes a likely candidate for changing positions over the course of his next contract. McCann’s numbers are excellent for a catcher but would be far less impressive at first base or designated hitter. ”

    THIS!!! Another DH type when they have 3 young catching prospects one them bieng thier top prospect.

    • mustang says:

      In the short term it might make sense, but when you throw in $$$, the lost of the pick, McCann’s decline, the 3 young catching prospects they already have, and all their other needs it quickly makes less sense.

    • mitch says:

      He’s not a dh-type. He’s still a very good defensive catcher. It’s definitely possible he’d have to switch to another position by the end of a 4 or 5 year contract, but guys like Jeter and Arod will be gone by then.

      • mustang says:

        In years 4 and 5 they would probably be looking down from .256/20/57 at 15 to 20 million a year to DH?

        Haven’t we learn our lesson isn’t this what they trying to get away from?

        I just rather give the kids a shot and spend the $$$ elsewhere.

        • mitch says:

          You’re painting the worst case scenario. He’s entering his age 30 season. He could still be a catcher in some capacity for 5 more years. I also think he’d cost closer to 15 than 20. I wouldn’t sign him if he didn’t

          • mustang says:

            I’m painting the scenario that has been preached on here for years of players in their 30′s and their decline.
            Granted anything is possible, but you’re asking him to keep up this production in his 30′s playing arguably the most physically demanding position in the sport.

            • mitch says:

              I wouldn’t expect 5 years at catcher. I’d sign him for 5/75 right now if i knew he could catcher 100 games a year for the first 3 years, 50 games the 4th year, and DH/1st the last year.

              I think it’s worth the sacrifice, but I understand the argument against it.

              • OhioYanks says:

                5/75 might be fairly optimistic for one of the better Cs in the game on the open market entering his age 30 season.

                The argument against it isn’t just against 5/75, it’s also that he might get paid a good deal more than that. $15 mill AAV seems like about the floor for him and top FAs coming off strong seasons rarely end up at their floors.

    • W.B. Mason Williams says:

      Agreed that McCann will likely need a position change at some point, but he is still a viable catcher at this point and, more importantly, he could play mentor to Romine and Murphy. Those two plus Sanchez are all intriguing catching prospects, with Murphy pretty much being the wild card with his sudden jump in performance. But they need a veteran to help bring them along at the top level.

      • mustang says:

        Great points especially on the mentor part, but I still think with all their other needs the $$$ could be put to better use.

      • Smart Guy says:

        Agree, thank god Derek Jeter mentored Eduardo Nunez otherwise we wouldnt have his eliteness awaiting for when jeter moves to another position or retires

    • OhioYanks says:

      He’s worth considering, but I do think there’s a good chance that McCann ends up being overvalued in FA. Top player at a premium position coming off a bounce-back season and entering what might be his decline phase.

    • xrebel says:

      I think McCann is worth a lot of consideration. Being a Yankee fan for 50 years, I recall many Yankee teams that were strong with power hitting catchers. Thinking of the porch in right field, the stadium is perfect for a swing like McCann’s.

  3. Ed says:

    Nothing surprising here, they talk about everyone. They’d be stupid not too.

    I think I like the idea of signing McCann in a vacuum, but not with the current state of the team. I’m far more concerned about signing Cano, getting at least one more good player for the left side of the infield, a power bat for the outfield, and multiple starting pitchers.

    If you’ve got money to spend after all of that, sure, go for McCann. But I don’t think that’s likely to happen. And if you don’t deal with those things first, I don’t see a point in signing McCann.

    I’d take my chances with Romine and one of Stewart/Cervelli on the opening day roster. Then hope that either Romine or Murphy earns their way into the starting spot.

  4. W.B. Mason Williams says:

    I’d rather take an OF’er like Beltran on a 2 year deal than shoot our wad on Ellsbury, especially since we can reasonably expect one of our outfield prospects to be a viable big league option by then.


    I am still trying to wrap my head around why people are so high on Garza. He had that one great year and since has been a decent #3 at best.

    While Tanaka is no sure thing, I think scouting says he’s capable of performing above that level consistently.

    • chris Z says:

      Unless the scouts are in 100% agreement, like they were with Darvish then I’d go with Garza. If they are trying to save $ he would be the better option and second, he is the devil you know vs the one you don’t. I’d almost always go with a guy who has an MLB track record over a guy who they are projecting.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        I’m not sure they’d be saving much money with Garza.
        They almost definitely wouldn’t be saving money under the luxury tax threshold, which seems to be their driving concern.

        The Yankees ideally need a #1 and #2 starter.
        Garza is really more of a 3, imo.
        Tanaka at least has a chance to be better (although certainly an expensive risk that he will be).

        The way I see it, Garza will be expensive, and doesn’t really directly fill a current need.
        Tanaka might fill a current need.

    • mitch says:

      I don’t think anyone would expect Garza to be more than a #3. Right now they have Sabathia, Nova and a bunch of question marks. And Sabathia and Nova are sort of question marks themselves. I’d prefer taking a chance on Tanaka as well, but if that falls through they could definitely use Garza.

  5. Pete says:

    Here we go… Let the “rumors” and “sources” begin…

    • Slugger27 says:

      the rumors are the same they are every year. the yankees are having discussions about every semi-decent mlb free agent in the league.

  6. Slu says:

    Ellsbury is an albatross contract waiting to happen. The guy will be injured for at least half of that deal.

  7. crawdaddy says:

    You don’t give up the 19th pick in the June draft for Beltran on a two year contract with as many holes the Yankees have on their team. That is not smart baseball management!

  8. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    Yankees signed Jeter for 1-year, $12M.
    That’s going to make fielding a playoff team at $189M even more of a pipe dream.

  9. will says:

    Since when do you give up a pick for a .256 hitter. wtf?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      when he’s a good defensive C with a solid OBP and good power

    • OhioYanks says:

      Since when do you ignore defense? Since when do you measure a player’s offensive production by batting average? Since when do you ignore walks and treat a single as if it’s the same thing as a HR?

    • SMK says:

      Since the alternative is Chris Fucking Stewart.

      Did you not watch any of the games he started in 2013?

  10. CashmanNinja says:

    Beltran has experienced some of the pressures of NY (albeit not as much since he was a Met and not a Yankee). But he still knows what to expect. He’s a very quality player. He’d easily give us 20-30 HR and 80-100 RBI, along with an average of .270-.300. Granderson would give 30-40 HR, 100 RBI, but his average is dreadful. Go look at Beltran’s OPS+ over the last decade. His OPS+ for the Cards = 128. Mets (7 years) = 129. His brief half season with the Giants = 159. To put that in perspective Granderson has given the Yankees a 4 year average of 120, although it’s weighed down a bit by last season’s injury shorted season. (Take away last season and Granderson’s OPS+ for the Yanks was 122).

    So, yeah…Granderson was good, but Beltran is the better overall player. I don’t even think Granderson’s defense is all that great either (god awful arm). I simply feel that Beltran is the better player. I’d even go as far as signing him to a 3 year deal. I love Beltran and feel that he’s a good enough hitter that he could be DH the final season if he was forced into it. We’d lose a pick, but gain one for whomever picked up Granderson.

    Now brings the subject of McCann. He’s tempting because of his position, but I simply hate the idea of investing so much in him. If he was younger it’d be worth the gamble, but he hasn’t exactly been lights out in a few years.

    2010 = 21 HR, 77 RBI, 74 BB, .269 AVG, .375 OBP
    2011 = 24 HR, 71 RBI, 57 BB, .270 AVG, .351 OBP
    2012 = 20 HR, 67 RBI, 44 BB, .230 AVG, .300 OBP
    2013 = 20 HR, 57 RBI, 39 BB, .256 AVG, .336 OBP

    We literally could have gotten the same production (minus a slightly lower batting average) from Russell Martin. Literally. McCann has nice power for a catcher, but does anyone here really expect him to suddenly revert back to a .300 hitter at this point of his career? Catchers don’t exactly age gracefully. Is he *really* worth a $75 million contract and a draft pick? I don’t think so. I don’t want Stewart back (at least not as a starter). I’d rather roll the dice with someone like C.J. Murphy. Yes, I went there.

    Oh, as for Ellsbury. No. Freaking. Thank. You. This isn’t like Johnny Damon coming to the Yankees. Damon had a swing made for Yankee Stadium that helped prolong his career. Ellsbury is all about speed — save for 1 season where he suddenly developed power. We already have a cheaper version of him in Gardner. Ellsbury isn’t worth a huge deal or a draft pick. He always has some sort of injury. Bad wrist, bad feet, bad hand, bad knee, etc. He’s the kind of player you stay away from.

    - Beltran
    - Tanaka

    Those are the 2 main guys to go after in my opinion.

    • mustang says:

      Not sure I agree with the pick part, but I’m all in with everything else.

    • W.B. Mason Williams says:

      If McCann were younger he wouldn’t be available. I’m all with you about being thrifty and value-oriented, but we really do NEED a proven starting-caliber catcher.

      The only other options are relying on 2 rookies (both of whom, granted, have potential) or even worse relying on Stewart to shoulder a load well above his ability again.

  11. Mister D says:

    Maybe lets not pay elite player money to non-elite players just because they’re the best currently available. That would be “cool”.

  12. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Pass on Jacoby.

    Once he leaves Boston, the league will “suddenly” discover a steroid issue.

  13. Hornets686 says:

    Matt Garza will be a Yankee… you know why? It won’t cost a pick to sign him!

    Robinson Cano
    Phil Hughes
    Mark Reynolds

    SP Masahiro Tanaka
    SP Matt Garza
    C Dioner Navarro
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    RP Jose Veras

  14. tommy casella says:

    bring back yogi berra.

  15. pounder says:

    Best time of the year,especially after such a down year.Fire up the Hot stove,love it.

  16. kemajic says:

    Ellsbury is a “now-power” outfielder? He had 32 HR and 105 RBIs two years ago. The former could be larger in Yankee Stadium. That number is more than Granderson hit prior to playing in YS. I would be concerned about Ellsbury staying healthy, not about his power.

  17. seekr34 says:

    Forget Ellis, we got Soriano in LF, Grand in C and we need Beltran in RF
    and for get McCann. Use our own guys for a change. Garza, yeah, he’ll do.

  18. Pistol Pete says:

    It’s not that McCann is that great but the gap between he and what the Yankees have is huge. Sign McCanm and Beltran. Forget Ellsbury, too much $ and gets hurt plenty. Tanaka is a must. What is the left side of the infield going to be like. Jeter at 3rd, Nunez at short, Yikes.

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