Yankees turn gaping weakness into immense strength with McCann

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Do you really need the numbers to grasp how poorly the Yankees performed at catcher in 2013? In case you did: .587 OPS, which ranked 12 out of 14 in the AL, nearly .080 points lower than the next-highest team. They did have a few bright spots, including Francisco Cervelli‘s productive month and Chris Stewart staying hot for a bit, but by the end of the season the Yankees’ catchers were cooked. Stewart, a backup at best, was run down from starting, Austin Romine had gotten hurt (again), and J.R. Murphy was what you’d expect from a late-season call-up.

Tonight, the Yankees addressed their most glaring need, signing Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal that includes a sixth-year vesting option that could make the deal worth $100 million. McCann, 30 in February, will add some much-needed pop at catcher, perhaps recreating the days of Jorge Posada behind the plate.

The upgrade from Stewart, Romine, Cervelli, and Murphy to McCann speaks for itself. Last season, as McCann recovered from shoulder surgery, he produced a .796 OPS, 115 OPS+, in 402 PA. That lines up pretty well with his career numbers (117 OPS+). That OPS alone would have put the Yankees at third in the AL in OPS, behind only Minnesota (Mauer) and Cleveland (Santana). But that doesn’t tell the entire story.

McCann, a lefty, pairs perfectly with Francisco Cervelli, a righty who has excelled against lefties. True, his entire career against lefties amounts to a hair under 200 PA, but he’s more than done his job in those opportunities (.302/.402/.389). If he can squat behind the plate when the Yankees face left-handed pitching, it’s the perfect catching combination. McCann not only saves the wear and tear of catching for a third of the season, but he’ll be available to DH — and he’s produced a .744 career OPS against lefties.

Left-handed power hitters are always welcome at Yankee Stadium, and McCann’s swing appears tailor-made for the short porch. Even in his poor 2012 he produced a .344 wOBA when pulling the ball, and in two of the last three years he has just murdered the ball when pulling. Combine that with a difference in home parks — there’s a huge right-center gap at Turner Field — and it seems like an ideal fit from an offensive standpoint.

The money involved has more than a few fans up in arms. At five years and $85 million, it’s certainly a large outlay by the Yankees. It’s tough to analyze this without knowing their intentions re: Plan 189. If they do plan to come in under the luxury tax threshold in 2014, it’ll be even more interesting to see how they fill the roster. For the time being, let’s just consider this the Yankees getting aggressive in order to nail their No. 1 priority. Who knows what else is at play? All we know now is that the Yankees have more money than any other team, and that they’ve spent it on a player that will make them considerably better.

Much of the outcry regarding McCann involves his age and his position. He turns 30 in February, which is not a good sign for a catcher, at least anecdotally. Again, if the Yankees can continue trotting out a backup who can hit left-handed pitching, they can limit McCann’s exposure behind the plate, making up the PA at DH or even 1B, a position he said he’d be open to learn. He did suffer a shoulder injury in 2012 that sapped his production and kept him out during the first month of 2013, but it does appear he’s recovered from that. Assuming he’s healthy now, proper management could go a long way to keeping him on the field, and behind the plate, for the next five years.

It’s difficult to understate how poorly the Yankees fared at catcher in 2013. Signing McCann provides the greatest upgrade they could have acquired this off-season. There are concerns, as there are with any free agent signing. But given the upside of the deal, and the Yankees’ apparent ability to spend, this deal stands a decent chance of working out for them.

Discussion to be reconvened in January, when we see what else the Yankees have done to augment and upgrade the roster.

Categories : Transactions


  1. bonestock94 says:


    • Meet Me at the Bat says:

      Russell Martin has been more valuable over the last five years. Over the last four years. Over the last three years. Over the last two years. And especially last year.


      • sdf says:

        This is quite simply a false statement based on WAR, which would also overvalue Russell Martin on defense. However, you could argue that Russell Martin on a 2 yr. $17M deal is better than McCann on a 5 yr. $85M deal.

      • lightSABR says:

        You make this claim about 300 times in the comments, but I have no idea what your evidence for it is. Like sdf points out, by WAR you’re crazy.

        Russell Martin 6.1 fWAR
        Brian McCann 13.0 fWAR

        Russell Martin: 6.1 fWAR
        Brian McCann: 4.4 fWAR

        So, the message of WAR seems to be that Russell Martin is about one win per year better than McCann… when McCann is injured or recovering from injury and Martin is having his only really good year since 2008. When they’re both healthy, McCann’s worth about two wins per year more.

        Which of them is likely to be better going forward? There are lots of reasons to think it’s McCann, but I’ll give you just one: he’s actually a year younger than Martin.

      • lightSABR says:

        One more issue you’re just not accounting for here. A player who puts up 4 WAR in a year isn’t worth twice as much as a player who puts up 2 WAR. He’s worth at least four or five times as much, because 4-WAR players are so much rarer than 2-WAR players.

        Or to put it from the team’s perspective: if you’re trying to get from 79 wins (what the Yankees deserved last year based on runs scored and runs allowed) to 95 wins, you’ve got to add 16 WAR. How are you going to do that with 2-WAR players? You’re not, because there aren’t 8 positions where you had a 0-WAR production and could add 2 WAR with a 2-WAR player. Even the Yankees’ catchers last year put up 0.9 fWAR. You’re only going to be able to upgrade six or seven players, tops, and so your upgrades need to be as big as possible.

        Signing Russell Martin gets you maybe two more wins. Signing Brian McCann probably gets you three, maybe three and a half given the short porch. And when you’re trying to add 16, and you’re only going to be able to improve six or seven positions in one offseason, the difference between two extra wins with one signing and three and a half extra wins with one signing is very, very large.

        sign a 2-WAR ca

      • bonestock94 says:


        Even if you weren’t wrong, so what? They made a good signing, Martin’s deal was less risky due to length, but he also isn’t as good.

  2. Mike says:

    How much do we have left to spend under the cap?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Roughly $30-$60M left for players not currently on the roster, depending on how the ARod situation resolves.

      • MC says:

        Arod definitely suspended for 50 games, considering, the other players served that many last season. Even if his attorneys pull off a Christmas miracle, he is still sitting 50 minimum, but my money is more like 100 minimum and at this point, the whole season still seem very likely.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Hopefully enough to re-sign Cano, add a big-time outfielder, a top-of-the-rotation SP, a third baseman and some bullpen help. Still lots of gaping holes on this roster.

  3. Murty says:

    So JR Murphy gets traded now, right?

    • Fin says:

      I’m not sure what kind of value Murphy has, if he can help the Yankees more in a trade or let him intern under McCann for a couple years and see what they have in him? Have to assume at least 1 of the Murphy/Romaine/Cirvelli trio gets traded.

      • Billy says:

        As it stands, there are six catchers on 40-man roster. I can’t see how they’ll carry more than four…

        • Laz says:

          well Murphy only has 230 ab in AAA, so I think you can stick him in AAA for another year and it wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary.

          I can’t see them carrying Stewart anymore. With Cervelli or Murphy as the backup I don’t see any place for him.

          Catching depth is valuable, if someone wants to give fair value for Murph they should listen, but can he can definitely use more time in AAA, maybe even a midseason trade.

  4. CountryClub says:

    I’ll certainly live, but to me, it’ll be disappointing next yr if Cervelli is the backup.

    • Wheels says:

      Why? Cervelli is decent.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Meh. I’d like to see him there as long as the team lets Murphy be the starter in Scranton.

      I feel bad for The Salad, but two years wracked with injuries will tend to get you bypassed. That said, if somebody really wants Cervelli or Murphy and wants to pay up for one of them, I would not be averse.

      • Laz says:

        There were always questions if Romine could hit, his defense was always fine. He did nothing to push the door, and you can’t pass on McCann for him.

  5. Colman says:

    Great signing!

    • Meet Me at the Bat says:

      Russell Martin has been more valuable over the last five years. Over the last four years. Over the last three years. Over the last two years. And especially last year.

      Jimmy Dolan 2.0 now runs the Yankees. Welcome to that long nightmare of suck.

  6. Nathan says:

    Thank Jeebus the Stewart/Cervelli tandem era is over.

  7. Fin says:

    I wonder if this means they are not going to stick to $189 or decided to let Cano walk? Should be an interesting offseason. I also wonder if this puts pressure on Cano to make a decision. There doesn’t seem to be a huge market for Cano right now, maybe the Yankees are sending a message of sign now while we have money left.

  8. Bob Buttons says:

    I envision McCann transit to 1B or DH for the last few years while Sanchez or another kid takes a crack at it.
    Plus the Sox are suck with crappy catching for the next short while.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      McCann hasn’t even been an .800 OPS guy since 2011. His bat’s not first base-caliber now, so it more than likely won’t be in a few years. The main thing that makes McCann valuable is that he’s such a good hitter relative to the catcher position. Take him away from that position, move him to an offense-oriented spot, and suddenly he’s not such an asset.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        Edit: His bat’s first-caliber right now if you’re OK with a mediocre hitter at 1B.

      • Laz says:

        But he grades out as average if you compare him against the rest of the 1B in mlb offensive wise, that is even without any boosts from ys lefties.

        • forensic says:

          Well, his average offense at 1B right now is theoretically park adjusted. And, being average now doesn’t mean there won’t be any decline in the next few years before he potentially moves there.

          • Tom K says:

            Eh. The first base move is nothing but pure speculation right now. Although it may be unlikely he sticks behind the plate full-time for the next five years, it is far from impossible. The Yankees are going to keep him back there for as long as possible.

            • Chris Klement says:

              I agree. A guy being effective in their early to mid thirties is not unheard of. We’re talking through age 34 hear, not 38/39

    • Meet Me at the Bat says:

      Awesome, another underpowered 1B/DH who’s overpriced.

      Yeah, they really stuck it the Sox!

  9. CashmanNinja says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Cervelli in the least, but I’d be content with him in a full-time backup role. He’ll catch every now and then, but not nearly the amount he would have if he had to compete with someone like Chris Stewart again. Plus McCann can slide to DH on off-days which would keep his bat in the lineup.

  10. mustang says:

    Like it don’t love it, but just happy to see the Yankees act like the Yankees if you know what i mean.

  11. Hey now says:

    Hey now

  12. scooter10 says:

    I’m guessing they go with Cervelli as the backup. He hits lefties well. Trade one of Romine/Murphy and stick the one they keep at AAA. #1 prospect (Gary Sanchez) who’s only 21 will start the year in AA and could be ready in 3 years. McCann can takeover for Teixiera in 3 years at 1B if Sanchez is ready.

  13. mustang says:

    The Cardinals are close to a deal with Jhonny Peralta, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of (Twitter link).

    Guys are coming off the board fast would be surprised at the Yankees signing Beltran and making a trade.

  14. Elan says:

    I’m so pumped about this signing – McCann and his lefty power swing can be a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium! Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if this deal was backloaded? It would be interesting if the Yankees got McCann to agree to a smaller first year’s pay for the good of the team.

    • CashmanNinja says:

      That wouldn’t really matter since the payroll thing is based on average annual value as opposed to a player making this much one year and this much the next. The Yankees have the money, but it’s the AAV that needs to be kept in check if they plan on getting under the payroll tax.

  15. Avi says:

    Monster upgrade, monster contract.
    Russell Martin @ 2 years $17mm >>>>>>>>>!! Mcann @ 5 years $85mm.

    Yankees throwing an embarrassment on money at a player to upgrade, and out spending everyone by a wide margin?
    Feels good to be a yankee fan; I almost forgot that feeling; Sure beats the penny pinching bull shit that went on last year.

    • Fin says:

      I don’t, I think that is in the neighborhood of what McCann was expected to get. They are just being aggressive this year it seems and getting the people they want, before they are all gone.

    • CashmanNinja says:

      Russell Martin at 2 years/$17 mil isn’t bad, but I’d say McCann is definitely the better player by far. For 2 years in NY Martin hit .224. Not exactly fantastic. The power was nice, as was the defense, but let’s not act like Russell Martin was Joe Mauer or anything like that. Plus he stayed true to form last year when he hit .226 for the Pirates. For crying out loud, Chris Stewart hit .211 (albeit tons less power) but that gives you an idea of how effective Russell Martin was…or lack there of. His contract isn’t bad and I do think it’s a good deal, but he’s no Brian McCann.

      • Avi says:

        Mcann batted .230 and .256 respectively the last two years. The difference in BA between him and Martin is negligible. I agree that Mcann is the better of the two players, just Martin is a far better value at his current contract compared to Mcann and his.

        • MartinRanger says:

          Martin’s OPS barely poked above .700 for the Bucs last year. While that’s not a punted lineup spot, that’s hardly going to cut it with the team’s offensive deficit. They would have to upgrade elsewhere regardless. It’s not Martin or McCann. It’s McCann or Martin and at least one other expensive big bat. Unless you really enjoyed those 4-3 losses last year.

        • Fin says:

          Have to really throw 1012 out for McCann because of his shoulder. He returned closer to his career numbers in 13 after the shoulder surgery.

          • Meet Me at the Bat says:

            The game doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to choose which seasons to throw, not especially with injuries that linger.

            Russell Martin has been more valuable over the last five years. Over the last four years. Over the last three years. Over the last two years. !And especially last year!

            Martin was worth double in 2013.

            Failing to sign someone for monetary reasons then going out to sign some for 5x the cost is the height of idiocy.

      • Meet Me at the Bat says:

        Russell Martin has been more valuable over the last five years. Over the last four years. Over the last three years. Over the last two years. And especially last year.

        Nope, he’s no Brian McCann. He’s better than Brian McCann.

    • AC says:

      Don’t know if your happy or pissed off. TX or Sox might have thrown more $$ at him had it gone to the winter meetings. We all read the reports. We all knew what it was gonna take to sign him. Why get into a bidding war with other teams. Get aggressive from beginning. Don’t mess around. 17 a year is a lot but that’s what it was gonna take like it or not. He’s 29 not 39 either. Contract is done he’s 35/36 and move on. Yanks came in at 5 for 82.5. Were told they will sign if at 85. Cashman said he’s my pen. LOL

      • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

        It’s even better than that. The guaranteed years are his ages 30 – 34 years and the option is 35. I think people are scripting his move to 1B/DH waaaaaaay too prematurely. I think it’s far more likely that he transitions to backup C as Sanchez or Murphy assumes the starting job over the second half of the contract.

    • mike b says:

      Kinda feels like the days of “The Boss” back when he ran FA system

      As for those complaing about 5 yrs I say this…what if you woke up this morning & the headlines read “Sox sign McCann”

  16. Fin says:

    If they can resign Cano..


    Top of the order looks pretty solid, see how they fill out the bottom.

    • Avi says:

      Can I get granderson and Beltran in those spots? Come on Yankees! Flex some financial might! Do what you do best and “ruin baseball”. You make way more money than any other franchise ever. Make 189 the biggest farce ever!

    • Havok9120 says:

      Yeah, it’s quite nice. Toss in Beltran and I’ll be drooling.

    • AC says:

      If Cano wants 7 or 8 years at 25 plus then let him walk. You can’t be afraid to pass on him. Don’t panic and give into him bc he may have visited Detroit. Who cares. He has to want to stay in NY too , works both ways. I have no issue taking his $$ and going after other players. It’s not the end of the world

  17. Avi says:

    Posada was better than Mcann IMO. Mostly because he drew more walks.

    • Pablos Ham Sammich says:

      Posada was better than Mcann IMO. Mostly because he drew more pictures.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Agreed, but that’s a pretty tough measuring stick.

      Posada is very close to a Hall of Famer IMO.

      • Avi says:

        Totally agree on posada being an HOFer; and I’m very picky when it comes to who should be in the hall. Rice, mazerowski, sutton, jack morris have no business near the hall. If Viszquel gets in the place becomes meaningless. I don’t even believe Roberto almost belongs in (I know I’m in the heavy minority there). He never scared me as a yankee fan. Excellent hitter for a second baseman but played in an era where offensive numbers were heavily inflated. His glove was excellent but his bat and total package and longevity weren’t HOF worthy IMO.

    • Short Porch says:

      Posada Career: .273 .374 .474 .848
      McCann Career: .277 .350 .473 .823

      Yeah, a bit better. Note they are / were in hitter’s park.
      I gotta think McCann is better defensively.

      It all depends on whether they are going to open the purse strings now.

    • forensic says:

      OPS+, wOBA+, and wRC+ all agree and have Posada slightly ahead over the totality of their careers. FWIW, Posada is right about 3 WAR per season and McCann is a touch over 3 WAR per season.

      Overall, pretty close to a toss-up, I guess…

      • The Other Mister D says:

        But that would be for Posada’s entire career, including his decline years (in his *late* 30s).

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Object other hand, McCann’s pretty good defensively and Jorge was unspeakably awful.

        • forensic says:

          Well, Posada’s career OPS+ is 121 and his OPS+ over his first 9 years (ignoring 9 games in 95-96, and 9 years is where McCann is now) is 121.

          His ‘decline years’ (meaning the rest of his career), included the best season of his career and three of the best six seasons of his career. That doesn’t really affect the comparisons.

          The real question is whether McCann can hold his career level over the next 5 (or 6) years.

  18. MC says:

    Based on what I am reading in the various papers, sports sites, etc, this deal is getting a consensus big thumbs up, which is really nice to see, for a change. Even fans, with the exception of a few, can’t seem to find many flaws with this deal. We basically just signed one of the best catchers in baseball to a really awesome 3 year deal (prime years) and tacked on a few extra to be a very useful back-up, DH, and 1st baseman. Best case, he’s back there for 4 or 4.5 seasons.

    • forensic says:

      I’m not excited to possibly be paying him $17 million to be a back-up catcher and/or a below average 1B.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        The tradeoff for having a good catcher for the next few years

        • forensic says:

          I’m just not so sure it’ll all be worth it.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            Depends what else they do and how much they’re willing to spend (and obviously how far McCann drops off in the next 5 years)

            One positive:
            They’ll likely go from 22.5M for a 36 yo, below average 1B to 17M for a 33 yo, below average 1B.

            You can’t argue with progress like that.

            • forensic says:

              One positive:
              They’ll likely go from 22.5M for a 36 yo, below average 1B to 17M for a 33 yo, below average 1B.

              Boy, we’re really stretching it now. :-)

            • Havok9120 says:

              It’s this kind of optimism that brings out the charm at RAB.


            • W.B. Mason Williams says:

              Below average? Below average.

              Mark Texeira is below average.

              Sure he’s gotten hurt and underperformed, but underperforming for him is still 30 bombs and 100 RBIs.

              Oh not to mention epic defense. Screw his batting average that in isolation means nothing.

              This made me really angry.

        • Meet Me at the Bat says:

          Or you know, they could have had Russell Martin – a better player for 1/5th the cost.

          Eh, but when did winning really matter?

  19. Fin says:

    I feel like this move about like I did with Tex… Very good player, a little old for length of contract, worried about the not too distant future. All in all I’m neutral. Hard to get upset about getting a player a good as MaCann, but hopefully this deal goes bad late in the contract and not after a couple years. I also hope he isn’t the home run police with the Yankees, I thought that was about as lame as it gets.

    • steve (different one) says:

      I was pretty psyched for Teixeira and I am still bewildered by what has happened to him.

      He was the close to the PERFECT free agent when they signed him. It’s very easy to forget how good he was 5 years ago.

      Switch hitter, hit for power, hit for average, got on base, excellent defense, and wasn’t yet 30 when he signed.

      .306/.400/.563 in 2007
      .308/.410/.552 in 2008

      what more could you possible ask for in a FA?

      his drop-off is one of the all-time head-scratchers considering he was still young and healthy when it started.

      • Fin says:

        I only felt that way about Tex, because after 30 is a crap shoot.

      • MartinRanger says:

        I’m still baffled by it. It’s too late to hope the decline stops now, but at the time, the contract looked like it would at least be good value for 3-4 years. It was the back years we worried about. But we didn’t even get two years of premium production.

      • Dicka24 says:

        I can’t help but wonder if Tex was on PEDs at some point. I’m not saying he was. It’s just that the drop has been fairly steep.

        As for McCann, I like the player, love the upgrade at this position, but dislike the contract, and lost pick. With the loss of a pick, do you all think the Yankees will look to treat 2013 like they did 2009, when they signed 3 compensation requiring FA’s? Could we be looking at Drew, Jiminez, Ellsbury signing the Yankees way? Ewww….I sure hope not.

  20. Love this signing, and it’s right about what I thought he’d get money wise. 6th year is a bit surprising though, but I assume that year is tied to games played/health.

    • Meet Me at the Bat says:

      Russell Martin has been more valuable over the last five years. Over the last four years. Over the last three years. Over the last two years. And especially last year.

      Why sign a catcher for two years when you can sign one for five years!

  21. CountryClub says:

    @jcrasnick: A National League scout on Brian McCann: “He might hit 40 home runs in that park. #yankees #shortporch

  22. 461deep says:

    Can’t argue with getting McCann. Big lefty hitter in YS should get 25 homers at the least. Plus he is a good not great catcher. Health always an issue with FA signings but Brian is not yet 30 so one could assume 4 decent years out of this contract. Potential line-up problem is if team loses Grandy and Cano they will lose power despite adding McCann. Trade any catcher now except Sanchez for a pithcher next.

  23. Grit for Brains says:

    Great analysis…can’t really look at it in a vacuum.

  24. CT Yankee says:

    Cue up Blur’s Woo-Hoo.

    I’m a tad bit skeptical at the money being given, but Catcher was a huuuuuuuuuuuuge hole we had to fill. And McCann was on most fans’ wish list.

    Off to a good start this offseason, Cashman. Aside from that wacky Derek Jeter contract hoopla. Keep it going.

  25. Pasta says:

    Life just got better
    Did they throw Stewie in the volcano yet?
    Mcann tex sori looks alot better than stewart overbay almonte

  26. Pasta says:

    Anyone but nunez
    Already much better than last year.

  27. Fin says:

    Seems to me with how fast they got this deal done, is the reason they didn’t sign Martin last year and went with Stewvelli. Seems very plausible they had planned for this. LOL, maybe they do have a plan.

    • Fin says:

      I would also rather have granderson or Beltran than swisher. So, if the Yankees sign either of them, it will have worked out nicely. I’ll never understand Vernon though.

      • MartinRanger says:

        Swisher’s offense fell off badly last year and he’s now a fulltime 1B. I think the Yankees dodged a major bullet there. And they deserve credit for that.

        Wells…well, they were desperate and just hoped for the best.

        • CashmanNinja says:

          They saved cash by not signing Swisher to a huge deal and while they’ll lose a pick for signing McCann…they did get Aaron Judge for losing Swisher so I think we made out fairly well in that aspect.

        • Fin says:

          Yea, I was never for giving Swisher a deal. I thought the Yankees had got the best out of him, that we were gona see. I never thought they would replace him with Ichiro though.

        • forensic says:

          I also didn’t want Swisher back on the contract he was gonna get, but you can’t really use 1B against him. That wouldn’t have happened if he was a Yankee (well, unless the Tex injury stll happened and he played the role of Overbay and they just got another OFer instead).

          And while he did drop-off a bit offensively, it may not qualify as a bad fall-off, considering the drop in the overall offensive environment.

          • MartinRanger says:

            losing 60 points of OPS going into your age 33 season is pretty significant. The Yankees got Swisher’s prime years for Wilson Betemit and Jeff Marquez. Fantastic trade, and they knew when to let go.

            • forensic says:

              60 points of OPS is a lot, but you’re not accounting for the park difference and the overall league performance difference.

              8 point OPS+ drop from 2012, and only 3 points from 2011. wRC+ and wOBA drop is a little larger, but still doesn’t seem that outlandish to me.

              We also need to see if it’s a one-year thing or a trend.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Important to remember that they had Tex’s money burning a hole in their pocket an not much to spend it on.

        I had no problem with them taking a shot as long as it didn’t hurt the 2014 team. And it doesn’t look, right now, like it will.

  28. I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

    I take this as a very positive sign that the FO is ready and willing to spend wisely. I like this move. Feels like a market contract rather than an overpay to me. And also obviously a massive upgrade over the black hole of 2013.

    By itself it’s not enough to move me off my long-standing 4, but as a sign of things to come it definitively has potential. Add one or two of Beltran, Choo, Ellsbury and Granderson, plus Cano, Tanaka, and another solid SP, and I’ll be feeling pretty good about the next couple years while the farm hopefully pays some dividends in 2015 and beyond.

  29. Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

    Ehhhhh, Joe, it seems as if you’re working a little too hard to try and convince yourself that this isn’t a good idea.

    “So he’s a catcher who’s getting older with an injury history! It’s okay! We’ll pair him up with Francisco Cervelli! And maybe teach him 1b maybe! And so what they have a budget and spent a ludicrous amount of money on this guy! Maybe it won’t matter!”

    Reaction: Meh. It’ll help and for on the field product it’s a clear good move, but overall I flip-flop with whether or not this was really a good move.

  30. Brian S. says:

    Bold prediction: Gary Sanchez will be traded for 200 of the 400 innings that Cashman covets.

  31. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Yankees turn gaping weakness into immense strength with McCann

    McCann only started 91 games last year. He had a paltry .337 slugging percentage against leftys.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      May 6 was his first game after recovering from shoulder surgery.

      Immense strength is probably an overstatement, but he’s one of the better catchers in the game.
      C went from a weakness to a strength.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Coming off shoulder surgery and in defiance of his career norms.

      You’re trying way too hard here.

  32. MartinRanger says:

    It also appears that the Cardinals are about to pay a king’s ransom for going-to-be 32 year old shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Apparently a team that offered 4/52 was told they weren’t even in the running. His career OPS is .755, and he’s not going to hit .300 again. I’ll pass.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Yeah, that quote struck me too. If that’s the bidding for Peralta then I want no part of him.

    • CashmanNinja says:

      I don’t see how any team could pay that much for a shortstop. He’s not a terrible player, he has some good pop for a shortstop, but he’s not amazing defensively (he’s not terrible either). 3/45 sounded like a bit of a stretch, 4/52 really sounds like a stretch…but I could see how a desperate team would be willing to give some money while not having to sacrifice a pick. But 4/52 is “not even in the running” is insane. How can any team justify paying THAT much for him? Hell, he’s a PED user, who’s to say he won’t just fall to Earth and be a shell of his former self?

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      So much for PED suspensions negatively affecting free agents.

  33. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Over/Under on the number of days until Cash leaks to press that he wasn’t behind this move is 17

  34. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Do the Yanks lose their first round draft pick over this signing?

  35. TWTR says:

    This is good because: 1) offensive catchers have been a big part of their historic success; and 2) it may show that they understand how important spending big has become to their present success.

  36. RetroRob says:

    Law’s take, or a small snippet:

    “Behind the plate, he is a terrible thrower but among the better framing catchers in the majors, delivering a lot of extra value to his teams that current defensive metrics don’t adequately capture, in McCann’s case possibly adding a win a year of value.

    Five years is insanely long for a catcher — and there is a vesting option for a sixth year — but $17 million a year for him seems like a great deal for the Yankees, who are at the point on the win curve where the marginal value of two to three added wins is extremely high. There is reportedly a full no-trade clause that could come back to bite the Yankees, but it seems far more likely that McCann ends the deal as a first base/DH type who’s still somewhat productive than it is that he ends up so bad the Yanks have to ship him out. Other than the innate injury risk of the position, this looks like one of the most sensible deals we’ll see this offseason.”

    He goes on to talk more about McCann and how the Yankees catching prospects/potential impact.

  37. Kevin G. says:

    Three years from now: Teixeira’s contract runs out, move McCann to 1B and let Sanchez catch. Wishful thinking?

  38. Captain Turbo says:

    Finally, some good news. Now if they can only sign Cano for not more than 7 years, the puzzle will start to come together.

  39. Stratman9652 says:

    I think people are looking a little too hard for the downside here. They just picked up one of the best catchers in the game for pretty much fair market value. 5/85 is expensive sure, but unfortunately there is no longer such a thing as getting a good player on a deal that isn’t gonna hurt. Just about every free agent who doesn’t completely suck is getting a few million and a year or two more that they really should. It beats the hell out of scrap heap shopping and starting guys who should be backups.

    • BFDeal says:

      Some of these guys won’t be satisfied until Brian Cashman meets with them over Thanksgiving dinner and goes over every detail of Yankee planning then scraps it for the plan they thought up on the toilet that morning.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        You forget the part where he shoots himself in the mouth afterwards and falls over the Thanksgiving turkey.

        I understand the concern with a catcher. You have to assume risk sometimes. With the catcher position, I was interested in an upgrade only if it was a sizeable one. This is that. I’m fine with it.

        My assumption has always been the pot of gold is there for Robbie in the end. My biggest concern was that they’d play it too safe at first and watch their targets come off the board. I actually thought it was more likely that’s be the case (Pollyanna.) Clearly, that concern has been taken care of.

    • Meet Me at the Bat says:

      “no longer such a thing as getting a good player on a deal that isn’t gonna hurt”

      Yup, signing Russell Martin was going to *really* hurt.


  40. Dick M says:

    Not a smart use of resources if you ask me. We have younger, internal solutions at catcher.

    We need starting pitchers, a corner outfielder, and a third baseman.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Don’t forget that Cano guy.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I see your point, but to me, it depends how much they are willing to spend going forward. If they are willing to use their greatest competitive advantage ($$$), this shouldn’t be too bad, though hardly ideal.
      I though to be a serious contender for 2014, offensively they needed to add a 3-4 above average bats (depending on how above average) to solidify the offense.
      There doesn’t appear to be much available for 3B/SS that would fill that criteria, so that just left Cano, C, RF, and DH as places to find the offense.
      They needed to upgrade over their current roster substantially, imo, to be a strong contender for 2014. C was one of the few spots where they could significantly upgrade this year. Obviously this move makes less sense long-term.
      Hopefully this means they are seriously committed to building a strong team for 2014-15. Otherwise this move will be a waste, imo.

      • qwerty says:

        As bad as Tex has been, his return, along with Jeter should give them that boost they didn’t have last year. Not to mention they now have Soriano to start the season.

        The signing actually makes less sense both short and long term, because McCann seems like the kind of player you would acquire if you were missing one or two pieces, and that is simply not the case with this team. I think when you have a team on a downward trajectory like the yankees you should take a more conservative approach to free agency instead of taking a reactionary approach and blowing up the payroll with more albatross contracts that’s going to handcuff you for more additional years to come. All you are doing is preserving an endless cycle of mediocrity.

    • Mr. Roth says:

      Yeah. The same younger, internal solutions that we had last year. Just because they are young doesn’t mean they are good. At least not yet.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Who says they’re done?

      • Meet Me at the Bat says:

        They’re already finished. Not a playoff team. Not with still 3 or 4 lineup holes, three rotation nothings, no bench, and two bullpen arms. They aren’t buying all that, even if they were willing to blow past 189.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Who the hell is this guy, and did his crystal ball come with a receipt.

          Feed someone else who’ll buy it the absolutes you can’t speak to, pal.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      I wish people on this site could make up their minds. Do we have a horrible farm system, or do we have a great farm system that makes signing impact players unnecessary?
      Because from where I’m sitting, none of our supposed “internal solutions” have proved a goddamn thing. You have the opportunity to sign a great catcher, you take it.

      • Dick M says:

        It’s not that hard. We have a horrible farm system with the exception of catcher (and MAYBE some AA outfielders). We need “impact” players in RF, 2 starting pitchers, and we have to sign Cano.

        If we are going to bail on our young players in this environment, we are going to continue to get boxed in with these contracts.

        There is no rhyme or reason to our approach. We obviously put a premium on developing catchers. Then when they are ready we sign a FA catcher? These was a great opp to “save” some dough that could be spent elsewhere.

        Our resources are limited.

  41. Fin says:

    I don’t understand all these people saying he’ll be playing 1b/DH for the last few years of the contract. IF he is, this is another contract that will have gone bad. He barely hits well enough for 1b now, let alone if hes deteriorated to the point at age 33/34 that he cant catch any longer. Not to mention when was the last time the Yankees moved an aging player? Posada caught till the end, Bernie was still playing CF till the end, Jeter still playing ss. They weren’t even going to swap Gardner/ Grandy until Granderson got hurt.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Agreed. McCann would be a mediocre offensive first baseman right now and that doesn’t even factor in what kind of defender he’d be there. Hard to imagine he’ll be a good enough hitter in three or four years to replace Teixeira and play 1B full time.

    • BFDeal says:

      No it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s another contract gone bad. It could mean Sanchez has impressed enough to take over behind the plate. It’s far too early to start making definitive statements regarding the contract.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        And if Sanchez is doing well enough to push McCann to first or DH, then this is a problem I’d love to have.

        If McCann adjusts to the porch the way some seem to believe, his production will be more than enough.

    • qwerty says:

      I got to agree with this. McCann is currently only hitting 20 home runs a year with a .230 and .250 BA in his prime. What will his numbers look like when he’s on the last two years of his contract? This looks like yet another bad yankee long term contract to add to CC, Arod and Tex. Three must not have been enough for them.

      • Tom K says:

        You make it sound like catchers who hit 20 home runs a season are a dime a dozen. Five catchers did it in 2013, with Matt Weiters’ huge total of 22 leading all MLB catchers in the category.

        • qwerty says:

          My criticism is centered on what McCann will be doing 3 years from now when he will be all but worthless as a player and untradable.

  42. Betty Lizard says:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like catching
    Stewie now can go
    McCann crouching behind the plate
    Maybe it’s not too late
    Silver slugging golden gloves aglow

    It’s beginning to look a lot like catching
    Soon the hits will start
    And the thing that will make them ring
    Is the short right porch that sings
    Right within our park

  43. Vern Sneaker says:

    I’m happy.

  44. Pasta says:

    Think Mcann will strike out on two pitches like the imortal stewie did?

  45. qwerty says:

    I wonder what happens with Romine, Murphy and Sanchez now, lol. Catcher was a position they needed to address, but of all the holes on their roster this was probably the least pressing need because of their internal options. They are either going to blow up the 189 million goal they set for themselves, making them look foolish and incompetent, or they are signing McCann knowing that they will continue to meet that goal while completely handcuffing themselves.

    • LiterallyFigurative says:

      Sanchez I don’t worry too much about. He’s too far down the pipeline to worry about the next 2 years.

      I can see the Yanks going into the season with Cervelli, Murphy and Lettuce in the system and possibly moving one of them at the deadline for some help (if need be).

    • BFDeal says:

      So, no matter how the Yankees approach the off season, it’s going to be negative in your brain.

      • Havok9120 says:

        You’re surprised by that from him at this point?

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        He is the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.

      • qwerty says:

        If the yankees approach smart then why would I be negative about it? Unfortunately, they haven’t been smart during the offseason since the Gene Michael and Bob Watson days.

        • WhittakerWalt says:

          2008 offseason was pretty good in my book.

          • qwerty says:

            It was “good” in hindsight because they won the WS, but didn’t mean it was smart. All they did was threw money at a problem for short term gains instead of trying to find a long term fix. They just got lucky that it actually paid off.

            • WhittakerWalt says:

              Jesus, are you for real?
              You must be fun at parties.
              “Sure we all had a great time at that party last night, and I got a hot chick’s phone number, but it just easily could have gone another way. I mean, all you did was hire a couple of DJ’s and get lots of food and booze. Wouldn’t that money have been better spent putting it into your kid’s college fund?”

  46. Pasta says:

    This guy came from the Braves aka Pitcherland.
    He is going to know how to call a great game and handle the staff.
    This is good news for CC and Nova and the kids because it will take alot of pressure off them
    Not to mention a young guy like Pineda and phelps.

  47. Pasta says:

    Cervelli against lefties and dh mcann he can rake lefties too.

  48. the Other Steve S. says:

    Is he hurt yet?

  49. The Other Mister D says:

    I have to think when QO’s are over $14m, getting a top player at an elite position for $17m/year is a pretty good deal.

    • Ken Levine (no relation to Randy) says:

      I fully agree with you.
      This might go down as the best signing of the entire postseason.
      With the ridiculous contracts being thrown around to Marlon Byrd and Chris Young this deal looks like a bargain.

      Yanks still have a lot of holes to fill with no real great options out there in FA, but by securing McCann they have solidified their weakest position by far.

      Being strong up the middle (C, 2B, SS, CF) is pivotal to being a champion.

      • The Other Mister D says:

        I’d hestitate to go that far. I wouldn’t call this a bargain or a sure thing, but at least it isn’t a 7 or 8 year deal for 20 million, which is what I feared. And I actually do like the length of the deal – I had a very hard time getting on board with last year’s team just because everyone seemed like a stop gap. I couldn’t invest myself in players that I knew would be gone in 2014, no matter what pajamas they wore to work.

  50. Bo Knows says:

    This doesn’t block Murphy, remember he also plays 3rd base so he could easily be in the bronx

  51. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Loved what they did here. They zeroed in on the player they wanted and got him. What a difference from last off-season.

    Keep it going. Get this done. Every move made shouldn’t depend on the celery cap. The celery cap should depend on every move you make.

    I really had my doubts they had it in them his quickly. Such a Pollyanna.

  52. Mandy Stankiewicz says:

    Smell ya later, stewie!

  53. Nathan says:

    Seems like the opinion is that it was a fair contract and not an “overpay”.

    But really, is there too much to pay at the position after watching the catching last season?

  54. PunkPitch says:

    The real hidden value here is the unfunded pension… Throw in the 18th pick next June, and Hal just went All In at the table. Quite possibly, the worst move never made by a GM.

  55. Cuso says:

    Color me really, really, REALLY fucking surprised.

    They weren’t going to let him get away, huh?

  56. Meet Me at the Bat says:

    What an awful mess of an organization. Russell Martin is clearly the equal player at 1/5th the cost and no draft pick. You know, if you care about wins.

    Welcome to Jimmy Dolan sings the blues.

    • Kosmo says:

      I don´t agree Martin is the equal player. McCann is the better hitter with Martin marginally the better D-player.
      I´d rather run the risk of having McCann on a 5 year deal than having Martin on his current 2 year deal. What kind of contract will Martin seek after 2014 ? He´ll probably cost another team a 1st rounder. He´s become a .220 hitter with good D. I think he´s also 2 years older than McCann.

      • Meet Me at the Bat says:

        “I don´t agree Martin is the equal player. McCann is the better hitter with Martin marginally the better D-player.”

        bWAR says you are wrong.

        “I´d rather run the risk of having McCann on a 5 year deal than having Martin on his current 2 year deal.”

        Are you insane? The one position they are stocked is catcher. Maybe they actually develop a player for a change. But even if they don’t Martin won’t ever be making even $12M/year. And he would have save them almost $10M in 2014, when every dollar to supposed to be important to Jimmy Dolan 2.0

        “He´ll probably cost another team a 1st rounder. ”

        not if they re-signed him. Instead, they gave the starting job to CHris Stewart.

  57. Kosmo says:

    now NY can address the holes at 3B, DH and maybe RF

    3B- FA Uribe on a 2 year deal makes some sense
    Headley with 1 year remaining on his current contract would cost NY at least 2 top prospects.
    Martin Prado ? My personal favorite, he can move around the IF and OF. I´m not sure of what the cost would be or even if the DBacks would be willing to part with him.

    Now with Freese and Peralta no longer possibilities, 3B has thinned out considerably.

    I´d like NY to go with Almonte in RF but I´d be happy with Beltran on a 2 year deal w/ a club option for a 3rd or Ethier if the Dodgers absorb a huge chunk of his contract.

    DH- I´d still like NY to pursue Morales. He`d also be a good insurance policy in case Tex isn´t up to snuff.

    and then maybe Tanaka, Garza and a reliever.

    and of course Cano.

  58. Tom says:

    While 17mil may seem like a bit too much, I don’t think people would have a problem with 15mil per; so even if it is a very slight overpay in terms of AAV, it is peanuts.

    Jason freaking Vargas just got 4yr/32mil
    Carlos Ruiz, who is as old as McCann will be at the end of this deal, got 3yr/26mil
    Nolasco is looking for 80mil, Garza 100+mil, Peralta 14-15mil per (and I think they will all get close, and in some cases possibly more)

    With every team with an extra 25+mil in their pocket from the new national TV deal kicking in, I think it was wise to strike early and possibly pay what might seem like an extra 1-2mil in AAV. But by the end of this offseason it may no longer look like that. It also potentially sets the bar higher for the remaining FA catchers for the folks who were interested in McCann (Texas, Boston)

    • Meet Me at the Bat says:

      Peanuts? What are you, and elephant?

      Russell Martin got 2 at $17M. He’s worth as many wins as McCann. Instead, Chris Stewart was the starter in 2013.

      The Yankees are going cheap. Every dollar is important. No, this is a move to placate the homers. The team still sucks.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Betty, someone’s making moves on your man.

      • Brandon says:

        Why don’t you drive to Pittsburg and put martins dick in your mouth, maybe that will shut you up.

      • Tom says:

        1-2 mil extra per year is peanuts (reading is fundamental)

        Russell Martin is not available. It was a mistake not signing him last year (and I think almost everyone here realized this except the moron who got banned last year over it when he started cursing out Mike), but last I checked he was not an option this offseason.

        I’d rather McCann on a very slight overpay than pay Salty and watch him regress, or live with another 100 games of Stewart creating theoretical value framing a 3-0 pitch in 4-1 game in the 4th inning that apparently saves 0.07 runs (or whatever the run value is)

        The options were pretty much sign McCann or punt at catcher again. For an extra couple of mil/yr over what I thought he was worth, I think it is a good move.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          And I probably would have rather punted than signing anyone other than McCann.

          • MartinRanger says:

            I couldn’t deal with watching Salty strike out repeatedly at high fastballs for 4-5 years. Beard or no beard. I’d miss Granderson a lot.

            If they couldn’t get McCann, I’d have taken my chances with the younger guys and spent big at other positions to try to make up the offense. Either way they are spending a lot of money.

            Also why are people convinced that Russell Martin is actually that good? He’s a lot better than Stewart, but so’s ringworm. The Yankees needed McCann’s bat a lot more than they need his glove. That he fills the hole at catcher is a bonus worth paying for imo.

            The Yankees needed offense. They didn’t need offense -from the catcher position-.

  59. johnnyb93 says:

    The Red Sox should get a cut of that contract for “showing interest” in McCann and panicking the Yankees.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Was that the case, really? Seems like the team was zeroed in on him all along?

      One would imagine that the Sox and Yanks would be interested in the same players pretty often. His contract was as expected and predicted. It’s being called a relative bargain by numerous writers. I don’t see where his price was driven up, other than the option year and NTC.

  60. Frank says:

    I find it ironic how catcher is supposed to be the deepest position for the Yanks in their highly over-rated farm system. Yet, what do they spend $85M on? a catcher. Another expensive toy for an orgnization that has no idea what’s it doing. Pitching is what this team needs. McCann is a good catcher, not great, who will likely be a DH in 3 years, if not sooner. Good clubhouse guy. Still, not a big fan of this move. BTW- don’t be shocked if Sanchez winds up being the one to get traded. He’s their best piece who perhaps can get them a SS or pitcher they sorely need.

    • mitch says:

      McCann doesn’t get in the way of Sanchez at all. Everyone wants the Yankees to become the Rays or Cardinals. One of the reasons those teams produce so many young players is that they don’t rush them. Yankee fans would have been going insane if they had a guy like Oscar Tavaras and they kept him in AAA.

      Let Sanchez spend next year in AA and 2015 in AAA. Then maybe in 2016 he’ll be ready to contribute immediately in the majors as McCann transitions to a less than full time catching role.

  61. johnnyb93 says:

    It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox sharing any real interest with the Yankees in an average fielding, declining hitting, thirty year old, big long term contract catcher.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      You’re right. They only go after declining speedster outfielders on even bigger deals.

    • MartinRanger says:

      I don’t know; they paid Jason Varitek an awful lot of money for the last few years of his career.

      • johnnyb93 says:

        The guy who paid him that money is now starting his 3rd year attempting to fix the Cubs.

        • johnnyb93 says:

          And there is a difference when you are paying your own guy who won.

          • MartinRanger says:

            Is there really? Sounds like bad business policy to me.

            Cherington had a ridiculously lucky offseason. He’s a good GM, but let’s see those contracts pan out over multiple years before annointing him the second coming. I seem to recall the last time that happened it was the guy you just mentioned working for the Cubs.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              No no no. Cherington’s a genius and Theo is everything wrong with the world. That’s what helps them sleep better at night. That and roofies.

          • johnnyb93 says:

            Varitek got $5,$3 & $2 million his last three years with the Red Sox.

            • MartinRanger says:

              Huh, I remembered it being higher than that. In any case, those salaries covered age/seasons that this contract won’t cover.

              Wow, Varitek had a really weird career progression. I’m not saying PEDs, but…

              • johnnyb93 says:

                Look at those stats. I don’t see PEDs. I see a guy who showed up. He hit enough. He handled pitchers. He wasn’t great throwing out base stealers. His value was his ability to play most of the time. He only made 67 million in a 15 year career. He signed as a free agent three times. That tells me he wasn’t held in as high regard with the rest of the league as he was by the Red Sox and ESPN.

  62. MartinRanger says:

    Sherman saying the Yankees are optimistic about bringing Kuroda back.

    Please. That would make me feel so much better about the rotation, especially if they weren’t counting on him as their ace. I think a little fall-off is inevitable at this stage, but on one year I’m more than willing to chance it.

  63. PunkPitch says:

    Attention Red Sox Troll: cues Busta Rhymes, Gimme Some More…

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