Brian McCann, baseball’s unofficial sheriff of playing the game the right way, is close to a five-year, $85-million free agent deal with the New York Yankees according to numerous media reports including FOX’s Ken Rosenthal. The Yankees reportedly out-bid the Rangers and Rockies for the 29-year-old’s services and made McCann the high-paid catcher in the game.
Adding McCann bumps the 2014 Yankees payroll right around $100 million, pending whatever resolution comes with the Alex Rodriguez suspension. The team still needs to re-sign Robinson Cano and some pitchers, leaving GM Brian Cashman with lots of work left to do.
Forgetting payroll and the $189-million luxury tax threshold, this is a move that immediately upgrades the Yankees considering they started Chris Stewart and his .211 batting average 109 games in 2013. Also try to forget about McCann’s spats with Carlos Gomez and NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez, he’s a good power bat with six consecutive 20+ homer seasons.
Given Yankee Stadium’s reputation as a launching pad, everyone baseball person on the planet will anticipate a home run increase from McCann in 2014. Health is a concern with McCann, as he’s played in under 130 games each of the last three years, of course he could always DH in the American League from time-to-time. Figure McCann might even learn to play some first base with Mark Teixeira a free agent after 2016. If the Yankees are willing to sign McCann for up to six years it’s very doubtful they expect him to catch everyday when he’s 35-36.
Still if you’re a Yankees fan you have to like this move … unless you’re the type of nutjob who calls up WFAN. In that case you’re probably upset signing a seven-time National League All-Star blocks Austin Romine (the horror!) or why Cashman didn’t re-sign Russell Martin last winter?
Much will also probably be said or written about McCann — whom the Braves drafted out of Duluth, GA, in 2002 — about adjusting to the Big Apple. Making close to $17 million per season, let’s bank on a professional athlete being able to figure it out and make it work.
As for the Braves? It opens up a position for Evan Gattis, who hit 21 home runs in 285 at bats as a 26-year-old rookie in 2013.