Scouting The Free Agent Market: Brian McCann

Heyman: Yankees inquired about Brandon Phillips
Prospect Profile: Gosuke Katoh

Following a season in which their catchers ranked 26th in baseball with a 61 wRC+ and 23rd with 0.9 fWAR, help behind the plate figures to be on the Yankees’ agenda this winter. They have some strong backstop prospects in J.C. Murphy and Gary Sanchez, but prospects break hearts and if the team has a chance to land a quality catcher this offseason, they should consider it. Strongly consider it. Very strongly.

Long-time Braves catcher Brian McCann is a free agent and his camp has already had preliminary talks with New York according to Andy McCullough. That makes sense, especially since elite catchers very rarely hit the open market. In fact, since Ivan Rodriguez signed his four-year, $40M deal with the Tigers prior to the 2004 season, the largest contract given to a free agent catcher is the three-year, $18M pact the Marlins gave John Buck three years ago. Good catchers never ever ever become free agents. Teams lock them up because they know how rare and precious they are.

On the surface, McCann makes perfect since for the Yankees. If he’s not an elite catcher, he’s damn near elite. One of the five best in baseball. He’s also a left-handed power hitter who should benefit quite a bit from the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. There is more to life than that though, especially when talking about a guy who had surgery to repair a tear in his labrum and general instability in his right shoulder last October. Let’s break down his game to see just how much of a fit he is for New York:

The Pros

  • McCann showed no ill effects from the surgery offensively by hitting .256/.336/.461 (122 wRC+) with 20 homers in 402 plate appearances this year. He struggled mightily while playing through the injury last summer (87 wRC+) but rebounded to his pre-surgery levels (121 wRC+ from 2009-2011). His strikeout rate (16.4% in both 2013 and 2009-2011) is lower than the league average as well.
  • He fits the classic Yankees’ mold of power and patience. McCann drew a walk in 9.7% of his plate appearances this year (10.9% from 2009-2011) and managed a .205 ISO (.195 from 2009-2011) despite playing in pitcher-friendly Turner Field. As his spray charts show (2013, 2009-2011), he does most of his damage when he pulls the ball to right. That fit perfectly with Yankee Stadium.
  • Aside from the shoulder problem last year, McCann has been very durable by catcher standards since breaking into the league 2005. The shoulder surgery is a huge red flag obviously, but it’s not like he has a tendency to visit the DL every year or anything.
  • Outside of what appears to be an outlier in 2011, McCann has consistently rated as an above-average defensive catcher (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 rankings). He has also grades out as an excellent pitch-framer, both this past season and historically (subs. req’d).
  • McCann has played in the postseason a bunch of times and has plenty of experience in pennant races and all that with the Braves. I don’t know how valuable that actually is, but it can’t hurt.

The Cons

  • McCann’s overall offensive performance was very good this year, but he really struggled against southpaws for the first time since breaking into the league: .231/.279/.337 (72 wRC+) against lefties but .266/.357/.512 (141 wRC+) against righties. From 2009-2011, it was .250/.323/.411 (100 wRC+) against lefties and .284/.374/.494 (131 wRC+) against righties.
  • Despite the strong defensive scores, McCann has always been below-average at throwing out attempted base-stealers. He cut down just 15 of 62 (24.2%) runners this year and 89 of 353 (25.2%) from 2009-2011. Consistently five or so percentage points below the league average.
  • McCann has no value on the bases whatsoever, which is par for the catcher course. He attempted one stolen base this year and only 21 over the last five years. He’s also well-below-average at taking the extra base (first-to-third on a single, etc.), succeeding only 17% of the time since 2009. The league average is close to 40%. He’s a base-clogger in the historical sense of the term.
  • The Braves unsurprisingly made McCann a qualifying offer before Monday’s deadline, so the Yankees or any other club will have to forfeit a high draft pick to sign him. For New York, that means the 18th overall selection.
  • McCann came off as kind of a dick late in the season during the homer incidents with Jose Fernandez (video) and Carlos Gomez (video). That is weak.

I think Yadier Molina’s five-year, $75M contract is the benchmark for McCann’s next deal. I think that’s the starting point, really. It’s been two seasons since Molina signed his contract and free agent prices have only gone up, plus McCann will be a true free agent and able to get several teams involved in a bidding war. Molina is clearly the superior player, but he signed an extension and could only negotiate with one team. I mentioned before how rare it is for a top catcher life McCann to hit the market, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the team that lands him is the one willing to offer a sixth year.

McCann turns 30 in February and already has more than 8,800 career innings at catcher to his credit, so expecting him to remain behind the plate for the entirety of a five (or six) year contract seems unreasonable. I think the realistic case is getting two full years at catcher, one year split between catcher and first base, then two years split between first base and DH. That timetable lines up well with the expiration of Mark Teixeira‘s contract, so McCann could slide right over to first once he starts to turn into a pumpkin behind the dish. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get three full years at catcher during a five-year deal.

There is almost no chance the Yankees could fit McCann into their $189M or less payroll next season without Alex Rodriguez being suspended for all of 2014. That’s a problem because the ruling for A-Rod‘s appeal may not be handed down until mid-December, after the Winter Meetings when most top free agents pick a new team. Maybe McCann will be one of the exceptions who drag their decision into January, but the point remains: the Yankees can’t seriously pursue him until they know A-Rod’s salary is off the books for certain. That’s unfortunate, McCann is such a perfect fit.

Heyman: Yankees inquired about Brandon Phillips
Prospect Profile: Gosuke Katoh
  • Robinson Tilapia

    I think McCann’s been takled about more before a post like this gets uploaded than anyone else.

    Obviously, I wouldn’t be upset if we opened him up at Christmas this year, but I’m more willing to roll the dice (again) on catcher if other needs are being addressed. While it’s obvious that all five won’t remain on the 40-man, this team is going to be carrying five catchers on their 40-man roster at some point this off-season. The immediate upside may not be there, but that’s a lot to work with.

    Again, though, I wouldn’t complain if McCann was behind the plate on Opening Day…..well, maybe I would if Eduardo Nunez was at third.

  • cpr

    Better of going after Salty. Will be cheaper and will not require as many years.

    • jjyank

      Pass. I’d rather go with the guys we have. If we’re dropping money on a catcher, I want it to be McCann. Last year was Salty’s only above average year with the bat, so there’s not much track record there. Plus, shitty defense.

      But like Fish Fingers says, the Yanks do at least have some youth with some upside at this particular position. It’s probably not as big of a priority as pitching.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I always like the idea of Salty when I first think about it due to the lack of connected pick, but I always talk myself out of it. I think that, in the end, I only think they should punt on trying to establish one of the young guys if they can the elite guy.

        • jjyank

          Yeah, I mean, not losing a pick would be nice. But I’d still rather roll the dice with Murphy/Romine/Cervelli than pay Salty. After the year he had, it could well end up being an overpay if he reverts to pre-2013 levels.

          For McCann, that’s different.

          • Caballo Sin Nombre

            I honestly don’t believe the Yankees will have a shot at the WS during the shelf life of McCann. Yes, we could possibly rearrange the team to have a 50-50 shot at a wild card spot or two over the next four years; but, as a Yankees fan, I don’t think that should be the goal. I think a few years in the wilderness is the price to be paid for the unprecedented (in the post-draft era) sustained excellence we’ve been privilaged to enjoy. I’m more interested in a complete rebuild than a patchwork, barely-above-average team. Pass on McCann.

            • jjyank

              “I honestly don’t believe the Yankees will have a shot at the WS during the shelf life of McCann.”

              How can you say that? Things can change very quickly, and believing that the Yankees won’t be a legitimate contender 3+ years from now is based on nothing other than your own outlook. Tons of things can happen that we won’t even see coming over that time, and some of it may be good enough to make the team a champion. Who knows?

              If it were Beltran we were talking about, I might agree. But I won’t listen to you if you tell me the Yankees won’t be a serious contender 3-5 years from now.

            • Weeks

              “I’m more interested in a complete rebuild than a patchwork, barely-above-average team. Pass on McCann.”

              At last, the voice of reason. The Yankee machine has been held together with duct tape and zip ties for the last six to seven years and is now nearing the end of its life. Its natural end would have been in the middle of last decade, but the club refused to focus on development and we’re now seeing that misguided policy bear its bitter fruit.

              The Yanks really need a reboot period because the current business model has become unsustainable. I can remember the dark years of ’89 to ’92 and I think today’s fans have become a bit spoiled.

              • WhittakerWalt

                It’s almost like there’s no World Championship thrown in the mix there.

                • Weeks

                  Dude, that was a fluke title that they bought and you know it. All the mercenaries they bought for that title have been in decline since and aren’t going to recover. Every title Cashman buys comes at the cost of 6 years of futility.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Agreed. If no McCann, I’m fine rolling with the youth movement.

    • Darren

      I know it’s wholly unreaosnable, but for now, I still look at him as a bearded Red Sox fuck. Pass.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      He’s also a lot worse at baseball.
      Bad defense.
      Only really had one good offensive year.

      I’d rather go with the internal options than give a likely mediocre player a 3-4 year deal.

  • blake

    a Salty/JR platoonish type situation would be cool with me next year. If JR or Sanchez come along and take the position at some point then Salty can be a catcher/DH type. They need a real catcher next year if they are serious about competing… more .500 OPS pitch framers

  • blake

    I think the signing of McCann all depends on what the overall plan is….this team is more than one player away so just signing him and bringing back the rest of the 2013 gang isn’t going to be good enough and you lose the pick pick they have had in years in the process.

    To me if they sign anybody that costs the draft pick then it needs to come with signing or acquiring a lot more players and ditching the budget…..they need to be able to field a legit title contender is 2014 to warrant losing that draft pick.

    For the money I think Salty could be a better value….he’s not as good as McCann obviously but he’s 28 and has improved offensively each of the last 3 seasons…..he won’t cost the draft pick and should be significantly cheaper than Mac will be.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting


      Except for the last paragraph. I’d pass on Salty. (unless maybe if for some reason he’d take a 2-year deal)

  • CashmanNinja

    1.) I absolutely hate Salty. I don’t want him on this team whatsoever. He really only brings power at the position. And that may very well be the result of a career year. His defense is putrid and he made Stewart look like Yadier Molina in comparison when it came to throwing runners out. Salty is more like a 1B/DH disguised as a catcher.

    2.) I am so torn on McCann. I understand catchers rarely hit the market, but it’s not as if he’s Yadier Molina. He’s very good, but I don’t know if he’s great. He offers power and good defense (minus throwing runners out). I just hate the fact that he won’t be a long term catcher. Take him from behind the plate and plug him in at 1B or DH and look at the numbers. The other day was a post saying the Yanks should stop plugging non-power guys into the DH slot, but wouldn’t this coincide with that? In 3 or 4 years McCann could have his power gone and then you’re getting a 1B/DH who is a 10-15 HR guy. It just makes me uncomfortable.

    3.) Losing that draft pick will SUCK. We’d then have to replace Granderson as well. So we’ll be upgrading at 1 position and downgrading at another — unless they go after Beltran that is. Either way it really sucks.

    4.) How can they fit this into the $189mil plan? Unless they’re very confident about A-Rod’s suspension then it’ll hurt. Plus it also means they probably won’t get into a bidding war with Cano as well. We could very well have a new catcher AND second baseman at this rate. Although if the Yanks decide to open their wallet I think that means they’re going to pay an extreme amount of money for the posting fee of Tanaka.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Points 1 and 2 definitely have validity, although I do think Salty is better than what you’re saying.

      On #3, I think there’s a very real chance that the Yanks don’t pick up any extra QO picks. It becomes a question of does the stocking of higher-end draft picks stop for a year because of player availability. To me, that’s a strike against McCann, despite my not putting first round picks on that pedestal others seem to. If this franchise is to be both competitive while rebuilding the pipeline simultaneuosly, it needs to be smart as to when they pull the trigger on losing a rare high pick. I’m not quite sure this off-season is it.

      On #4, honestly, I don’t take the 189 plan into account when thinking of these things. It’s not our problem as fans, and the franchise has done too much dancing around the will they/won’t they, in the end, for me to take it seriously. They’re not going to listen to me anyway.

      • Chris Z.

        A few things to consider:

        1) What will the budget look like AFTER 2014? If they are truly cutting costs for 2014 only then yes, sign McCann because you can build around him in years 2-5 of the deal.
        2) How far away is Sanchez? If he is 3+ years away then I say sign McCann. He can be a great mentor for a young catching prospect and won’t clog the position.
        3) Is Sanchez “THE GUY” at that position? If he continues to improve (you never know) and stays healthy will he be someone who can legitimately take over as the Yankees every day catcher? If he is, then we are talking about trading the 18th pick for 10 years of above average catchers. I think that’s worth it.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Gotta run, so this is quickest of quick replies:

          Doesn’t have to be Sanchez. Murphy could be the guy. I don’t even think we should be fully closing the door on Romine.

          • Caballo Sin Nombre

            I agree with you that draft picks tend to get overvalued. But I think the best strategy for a team in a questionable state, and one that is kind of obvious, is to try to maximize the value of your players, either as members of your own line-up or as trade-bait. And I think one of the ways you do that is to try to increase the value of your legit propsects by promoting and playing them. An establihsed ML-average JR Murphy at age 25 or Sanchez at 23 would be fantastic blocks for building the team via line-up or trade. You don’t have a shot of realizing that value if you acquire McCann. McCann is the low-risk, low-reward strategy that can only yield medicrity.

            • Caballo Sin Nombre

              mediocrity. I can spell, just can’t proofread.

            • jjyank

              I agree that McCann is the low-risk move, but absolutely disagree that it would be a low-reward move. He’s one of the best catchers in the game right now, that could be a very high reward.

              McCann is lower on my offseason priority list because of the situation you just mentioned, but to call a strategy of signing a good-great player at an extremely tough position to fill, “low-reward”, well, that’s just crazy talk.

  • dars

    The Yankees need to look at this as a 2 year plan. If they stick to that stupid moronic 189 M limit they will not win in 2014 and they will not win in 2015 either. Compare both free agents classes 2014 and 2015, you have to pick the best and according to your needs in each year. In 2015 we will need outfielders and infielders and there are plenty of options like Colby Rasmus and Nick Markakis,Chase Headley and Asdrubal Cabrera and JJ Hardy. The 2015 catching free agent class is lousy, so this is the chance to grab a stud catcher. I would sign McAnn and Beltran this year and add Tanaka that is it. I would cover SS and 3B with a combo of Nunez, Nix, Adams and someone like Youkilis or Reynolds. In 2015 you go after Rausmus, Headley and Cabrera, but you already have McAnn.

    2014 line up: 1.Garner CF, 2. Jeter DH 3. Cano 2B 4. Tex 1B 5. Soriano LF 6. Beltran RF 7. McAnn C 8. Nunez SS 9. Adams 3B

    2015 Line up: 1. Garner LF 2.Markakis RF 3.Cano 2B 4. Tex 1b 5.McAnn C 6. Beltran DH 7.Headley 3B 8. Rausmus CF 9. Cabrera SS

    • CashmanNinja

      The fact that it’s always hard to find catchers via free agency is by and far the #1 reason I’m not shutting the door on McCann. On top of that it sounds to me like he’d actually love to come here. So again…if we got him I wouldn’t hate it, but I do hate the thought of losing a pick for someone who may not stick behind the plate for more than a few years. We could do worse though. It could also give the Yankees some trade chips (Sanchez/Murphy) if the right deal comes along.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      “If they stick to that stupid moronic 189 M limit they will not win in 2014 and they will not win in 2015 either.”

      I’m not a fan of the supposed plan either, but you can’t claim that.

      • jjyank


      • blake

        hard to say about 2015 but it’s very hard to see how they are going to put a team together that could seriously contend for a title in 2014 without exceeding the 189 mark.

        They were lucky to win 85 games in 2013…..everyone is a year older and no Mo, no Andy, Arod will be gone, probably no Granderson….anything is possible I guess but I’d put winning in 2014 under the budget in the highly unlikely category.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          You’re assuming Granderson leaves. I’m not assuming that.

          If he comes back, a full season of Tex and Curtis is a major upgrade over what was there before.

          I think that, plus a second chance at getting last off-season right, gives the team a fighting of chance of equalling last season’s performance, at least.

          If folks want to think I’m crazy for saying that, that’s their prerogative and right.

          • blake

            I said Granderson was probably leaving….I’d re-sign him for the right deal if he would. Tex is basically Lyle Overbay in 2/3 of the games….or he was in 2012 so I’m just really skeptical that he’s going to start playing like he’s 29 again when the trend has been going the opposite way for 4 years now.

            Even if Tex and Granderson are back and stay healthy all year this club would still be carrying big injury risk elsewhere…..just hard to see how they are gonna lop like 50 million off the payroll and be a better team in 2014 to me….doesn’t seem realistic.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      If you don’t think they can win in 2014 or 2015, why bother signing Beltran?

      Wouldn’t that just be sacrificing a draft pick for no reason?

      • blake

        I wouldn’t sign Beltran unless it was coming with signing more players and pretty much ditching the budget….Beltran by himself isn’t putting this team over the top especially at 37.

    • 85wins

      Gardner is not a leadoff guy. Yankees need to get a leadoff hitter along with a full time DH. The cycle of misfits is gotta stop.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        MLB leadoff average 2013: 265/329/390, 71.9 SB%, 32.8 PA/SB
        Gardner 2013: 273/344/416, 75 SB%, 25 PA/SB

        Gardner was above average for a leadoff hitter.
        I’d prefer the lineup was strong/deep enough for him to bat 9th, but realistically, Gardner batting leadoff is among the least of their problems.

  • Darren

    Who says he even wants to sign with the Yankees. I got the feeling that he’d much rather sign with a Southern team than with New York. And he’ll make us pay extra to get him. Maybe I’m dead wrong, but I always figured he was a typical Atlanta, John Rocker type.

    • CashmanNinja

      His agent already came out saying McCann would like New York:

      Via Rotoworld (New York Daily News) –

      “Brian McCann’s agent, B.B. Abbott, said Monday that his free agent client is interested in the Yankees.
      New York’s catching situation was an offensive nightmare in 2013, so it’s no surprise that player and team are already making eyes at each other. Abbott said New York is “certainly a place that is on Brian’s radar. How could it not be? You’ve got an historic franchise and a great park, knowledgeable fans and a chance to win, which is what every guy plays the game for.” McCann received a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Braves on Monday. He will decline that offer and try to cash in on the open market.”

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Plenty of southern guys have excelled as Yankees.

      Not that any of us know him personally, but McCann was born in Athens, GA, which is about as artsy-fartsy as Georgia gets. They gave you Michael Stipe.

    • BFDeal

      Everyone in Atlanta is like John Rocker? What a fucking stupid thing to say.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals


    • Chris Z.

      Look what the Mets got for Beltran. Granted that was a few years ago but a 2 year deal avg of 12M a year is ok with me if they decide to sign him.

      I’d rather take someone on a 5 year deal like McCann if I am going to cough up a pick but if the Yanks tank in 2014 they could trade Beltran for prospects that WILL HAVE AN IMPACT. They would get a good arm, SS/3B option or even an OF prospect. Package Beltran with someone like Murphy or Romine to a team who is contending with catching issues in their system and I bet you can get a top end pitcher or fielding prospect in return.

      Now THAT is worth the 18th pick.

      • Caballo Sin Nombre

        Let’s trade one of our many catching prospects for a top tier young pitcher. Now, where have I heard THAT before?

    • MannyGeee

      So much fail in so few words. I am sorta impressed

  • Frank

    I prefer sticking with Murphy/Cerv/Romine and allocating that money towards pitching (starters and BP). Alternatively, a 1 year deal for AJ or Navarro works for me as a mentor for the young guys.

    • CashmanNinja

      AJ wouldn’t be the worst option, but age is definitely catching up with him. I admit I am getting a little frustrated with the game of musical chairs we’re forced to play with the catching position. I’m actually sick of Cervelli and wouldn’t even care if they just cut him. He really screwed them last year. I’m not that high on Romine anymore because he simply did not look good most of the time. C.J. Murphy looks better than I expected and I actually think he could be a solid (but not great) catcher. Either way he would save them money and I believe would be an upgrade over Stewart if given significant playing time for a full season.

      • jjyank

        AJ would be a pretty terrible option, in my opinion. Also, I bet this is the first time his name and the word “mentor” have been in the same sentence, considering his reputation.

        • MannyGeee

          AJ would be the WORST option in the history of options. I am only 1/2 kidding when I say i would almost rather go with Dice K.

          • JAG

            Dice K over Pierzynski for catcher? Ouch.

  • Albearrrr

    The last Con point is totally off in the article. The HR incidents were completely the fault of Fernandez, Gomez respectively. That is exactly how I would expect a good hard nosed C to react. (A-La-Munson) If anything, I would throw that in the pro section!

    • Donny

      Did anyone else pick up on the fact that the thrid con point was that he is slow? Seeing how the majority of catchers fall victim to this plight, I would say this is not a big deal. It seems like Mike may have been struggling to find reasons not to sign McCann, right? For that matter, if you can only think of two reasons not to sign a guy before you start grasping at straws, doesn’t this guy then scream out “good sign”? I mean, clearly, the good outweighs the bad, no?

      Mike – Sign or Skip?

      • MannyGeee

        Mike is stating facts. The McCann thing was a little dicky, and he is a complete zero on the basepaths.

      • Mike Axisa

        I always mention base-running, good or bad. Just being consistent.


  • Mr. Roth

    I’d love to see McCann get in Ortiz’s face for styling a homer. I wouldn’t mind having someone like that on the team at all.

    • CashmanNinja

      I don’t get why people are acting like McCann was a bad guy or anything. The Jose Fernandez thing wasn’t a “chump” move on McCann’s part at all. Fernandez took as long as David Ortiz to admire his home run. I get that he’s a pitcher and doesn’t really hit many, but then he went around the bases and spit at 3B which was obviously a sign of disrespect. It wasn’t random, it was done on purpose and McCann was simply sticking up for his teammate and telling Fernandez to act professional. And I loved when he was jawing with Carlos Gomez. Gomez hit his homer and was freaking chirping at the pitcher and 1st baseman before McCann got in his face. Gomez looked like an absolute little punk during that.

      So I don’t find that to be a negative at all. He wasn’t starting something out of nowhere. The other players started it and McCann was fiery and sticking up for teammates. I like when a catcher has that kind of passion (as long as he’s not a complete dick). It kind of reminds me of Posada in a way. It highlights the type of competitor they are.

      • Juan Chulo

        that 3B that was spit toward was jawing off to Fernandez earlier in the game. So was the 1B. so yea, it was kind of a “chump” move by the Braves. The kid, who was pitching great and just hit his 1st HR of his career, decided to admire it a bit. so what?

        also Justin Upton took longer to go around the bases than Fernandez did on his HRs so why is that acceptable for the Braves?

        • jjyank

          I don’t care about any of this. Besides, why the hell are we trying to judge a man’s character based on a heat of the moment reaction during a sports game? This is a complete non-issue for me, for McCann, and for Fernandez and Gomez.

  • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

    This line struck me: “On the surface, McCann makes perfect since for the Yankees.”

    Yes, on the surface McCann is a perfect fit…near elite offense for a catcher, above-average defensively, lefty swing, leadership, etc.

    HOWEVER, under the surface…you have a player who arguably will not be able to man his position in 2-3 years…which is significant given that he is likely to get a 5-6 year contract and will then play a position (1B or DH) where he will no longer be an above average player relative to the position. Plus, his offensive numbers are trending down. Plus, catcher is (or at least we hope will be) a position of strength. Plus, we will have to give up a pick.

    No thanks.

    Please sign a veteran to a short-term deal and allow them to mentor/split time with our young catchers.

    • Conor in China

      Agreed. McCann is a short term solution requiring a long-term contract. Unless the Yankees plan on going on a massive spending spree, they should pass. Of course, if they pull in Ellsbury, Tanaka, Drew, Nolasco and Nathan while resigning Cano and Kuroda, I’d be fine trying to win the 2014 and 2015 WS and pushing off the day of reckoning.

  • Yankeefan91

    Sign McCann And Sign Brayan Pena Or Ronny Paulino As A Backup.

    • the tenth inning stretch

      There are already two or three backup catchers on this roster.

      • MannyGeee

        5, actually.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I’d rather roll the dice on Dioner Navarro on a 1yr deal and have him platoon with Austin Romine and when JR Murphy is ready most likely the second half of the season you can trade Navarro and bring up Murphy.

  • Vern Sneaker

    Navarro. Save the pick. Save the McCann $$ for pitching and other needs. McCann’s too risky.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Not sold on Navarro at all. That was a whole lot of subpar performance which preceded what he’s done lately.

      • MannyGeee

        Navarro is the flashiest of the flash in the pan players available this winter. His performance before 2013 makes Cervelli look like a young Pudge Rodriguez.

    • Dropped Third

      Agreed, especially if they are trying to beat the budget. The position we are the deepest at in the farm system is the C position, I think we can afford to gamble with 1 years deals until a prospect emerges as a solid everyday player.To five the offense I’d rather add a decent infielder to play 3rd and SS for the void left by Arod and the declination of Jeter, a good OF (Beltran) and a massive prayer that Tex can rebound.

      Eff the budget sign McCann Trade Sanchez or Murphy for pitching.

      • Dropped Third

        *fix the offense

  • Dicka24

    I’d pass on McCann. Not that he isn’t a good player, or that the Yankees couldn’t use him, but he’s going to cost the team a draft pick in a deep draft, will require a 4-5 year deal at $12-15 million per, is unlikely to stick at catcher over the life of the deal, and plays a position that is less important with respect to other needs the team has, as well as it’s a position where the team actually has some youth it can break in. Oh, which by the way, would serve to save the team money. Both in terms of tax, and in resources it can spend elsewhere.

    I can’t state it enough how much I’d prefer to see the Yankees pass on any player that requires draft pick compensation. I’d rather see the team use this as a “bridge” year, if it can implement a longer term plan for the years after. As decimated as this team was in terms of both injury, and off seasons by key players, it was still in the playoff hunt right up until the end. With/if Text, Jeter, Grandy, Cano etc. are back healthy, and CC gets back to who he is, this team should/could compete for a playoff spot next year. I’d rather add smaller pieces, and restock the minors with every high pick possible, than see them over pay for a McCann with a pick and money, sign a Salty or Drew, if not make a bad trade for a declining player.

    BTW, I’m from Boston, and thus watch a lot of Sox games by default, and I can tell you Salty is not a good catcher. He K’s a ton, can’t defend at the position at all, and simply runs into some homers from the left side. If Martin wasn’t worth 2 years at $12-14 million to the Yankees, Salty shouldn’t be worth the same, nevermind more. Buyer beware.

  • giuseppe

    Absolutely pass on Salty. He is terrible defensively and benefitted greatly from hitting at Fenway, and even then only had mediocre-decent numbers.

    McCann makes a lot of sense on a 4-5 year deal.

    Cashes shopping list:


    • jjyank

      Agreed on Salty. My list is a bit different though.

      I’d go:

      1. Cano
      2. Tanaka
      3. Granderson/Beltran/Choo (in that order)
      4. McCann

    • Mike HC

      I like your list but I would be far more concerned about pitching. We just lost Mo, Pettitte and Kuroda. CC and Nova are safer bets to be mid rotation guys than anything else. Two legitimate starters need to be a priority after Cano.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    WOW. 6 teams were worse than the Yanks???

    • MannyGeee

      That is scary, isn’t it. However, you’re forgetting the ‘Hot as a Pistol’ month Cervelli had before he went out. Without that month, those 6 would not exist, methinks.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        Cervelli was responsible for 0.8 of their 0.9 fWAR.
        Take that out, and they’d still be ahead of the Mariners, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Marlins.

        Take out Cervelli’s hitting, and they’d probably drop to 27th, or maybe 28th, in wRC+.

  • Bob Buttons

    Would be nice to have McCann, but if he’s gone I’d take someone on a 1 or 2 yr deal (instead of ….. something?) and then let JR take over. Then after a few years let’s see if Sanchez challenges JR.

  • Mike HC

    Nice write up. All good points. I definitely think McCann would be a great addition. We do have a bunch of young catchers with some potential though too, so if we don’t land McCann, I would like to see these guys get all the at bats. In other words, I’m for anybody but Stewart, ha. And if we do get McCann, we could use one or two of our catching prospects in trades.

  • mitch

    I think the notion that his days at catcher are numbered are a little overstated. He’s entering his age 30 season. I certainly wouldn’t expect him to be a full time catcher throughout a 5-6 year contract, but assuming that he’d have to switch to DH/1B in year 3 is a little too negative in my opinion. It certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented for McCann to remain a full time catcher for 4 more years (age 33).

  • Nathan

    I will have no strong adverse reaction to either signing McCann or not signing McCann. The Yankees need both picks and a new starting catcher. Given the Yankees drafting history, I think McCann would net better results than a pick.

    And I don’t see McCann’s reaction in those two vids as that bad. It isn’t as if he was the only player on his team that was upset and in both cases, I think his reactions were warranted. I personally prefer a catcher that plays with some emotion and fire.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Sign Ruiz as a 1/2 year stop-gap/platoon/mentor, etc.., for modest dollars. Spring training camp; Cervelli, Romine, Murphy and Ruiz. Good, old fashion competition, with a veteran (Ruiz or Cervelli), sharing duties with Romine or Murphy. Keep the pick, and use the money for other needs.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      I hate that idea, but it makes sense–especially in light of 189.

      I hope Cashman stays in the mix as long as possible to drive up McCann’s price though…

  • Mister D

    If he’s not an elite catcher, he’s damn near elite. One of the five best in baseball.

    Mauer, Posey, Molina, Castro … pick your favorite other #5 (Perez, Rosario, Santana, Castillo, whoever). McCann is an offensive catcher who was 8th in wOBA for catchers w/ 400+ PA last year.

    • Mike Axisa

      Mauer might never catch again and Castro’s track record is one season.

      • Mister D

        Sure, and that one season was better than McCann’s and I’m pretty sure both of us would bet on Castro again next year, no?

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    We call it being a dick, Boston calls it ‘grit’ and being a gamer.

  • hey now

    Every time I see that Yada Yada Yadier Molina contract, I think, “Damn, the Cardinals made out like bandits on that one.”

    $13M per for the best catcher on the planet? What a steal.

  • will

    Mcann isn’t a free agent splash. Cano, cc, teixera etc.. are splashes. Mcann is a glorified Martin. Just go with JR, save the money.

    BTW how many more years before we can get harper?

  • Dick M

    NFW on McCann. Too old at a tough position. We have internal resources at catcher — give em a chance. You save the money and put it to use elsewhere, like starting pitching and the left side of the infield.

    PS Ditto on Salty. The dude is a horrible catcher.

    • SkinnyMikeAxisa

      McCann will sign with the Red Sox. Absolutely. Book it.

      Boston did not give a QO to Salty, to set themselves to get McCann.
      He will thrive in Boston, perfect fit to that lineup, and will handle that pitching staff wonderfully. The 1st round pick they lose will be the 30th. No great loss.

      The Yanks will get Pierzynski, Ruiz or Salty.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        I’d be very surprised if they had any significant interest in AJ or Salty, given their recent emphasis on catcher defense, especially since neither are exactly established as consistently big bats.
        Maybe Ruiz.

  • Coolerking101

    Sure, his bat makes him a top guy at the catcher position, but that bat doesn’t translate as a 1B or DH where he will end up 2 or 3 years from now. Not to mention that 2 or 3 years from now, you probably should not expect to get .256/.336/.461 production out of him. If the Yanks are going to cheap out this year (which I fully expect), I think the team can make better use of their scant financial resources.

  • Tom

    I see a lot of projections on age and ability to stay catching.

    Do folks think Yadier Molina will be moving off the catcher position after this coming year? The reason I ask is because he is 18months older than McCann, yet I don’t see people saying “he may only have 1 year left catching at his age”. Chris Stewart is 2 years older than McCann.

    Folks projecting him to move off catcher in 2 years would basically have him no longer catching at Molina’s current age. I think 3-4 years catching (maybe more of a half time role in year 4) is not overly aggressive. If you get him on a 5 year deal than you are talking maybe 1 year of 1b/DH

  • blehmann

    I do not think that McCann is a good investment unless the Yankees are committed to winning next year. If they are going to let the $189 million goal govern their decisions, they will be in the same position as they were last year except they are one year older (but hopefully healthier, albeit with the injury risk that comes with being so old) with more holes to fill. I do think that people are too optimistic about the ability of Romine and Murphy to be the man this year. Given that they were in the show last year, they should have been given a chance to play. But it is quite plausible that Romine’s problems last year arose from the injuries that gave him almost no development time at AAA. The only reason not to have both Romine and Murphy in the minors next year is that both cannot get enough work at AAA if they are both there. Rushing catchers to the majors is riskier than with almost any other position.