Before the August 1 trade deadline, the New York Yankees discussed a trade with the Atlanta Braves involving Brian McCann. The catcher has cleared waivers so something might still happen this season, while in the background 23-year old Gary Sanchez is slowly taking over the position.
The Braves have the worst record in the majors with only 45 wins as we approach September. They’re far away from contending, and are looking to both upgrade their catcher position and bring in a veteran to lead the young players they have. They’re moving to a new ballpark in 2017, and while making the postseason seems like a bit of a stretch, there’s no doubt that the Braves can’t afford another horrendous season like this one.
Whoever has McCann is on the hook through 2018, and a vesting option worth $15 million in 2019 if he totals 1,000 PAs from 2017-18, catches 90 games in 2018 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2018 season. McCann makes $17 million in each of the next two seasons, and while he isn’t the scoring threat he was during his time with the Braves (2005-2013, batting .277 with a .823 OPS), he’s doing OK for the Yankees, posting a .728 OPS and hitting 65 home runs in his three seasons with the team.
Meanwhile, Gary Sanchez seems to be taking over the position. He has played 16 games for the Yankees this year, as the youth movement on the team is taking a more prominent position in the last month, and even bringing the team closer to competing for a wild card spot. Sanchez is batting a ridiculous .361 with a 1.147 OPS, hitting six home runs in 66 plate appearances. He hasn’t done anything to show that he can’t function behind the plate as well.
Whether the trade happens before the waiver deadline or during the offseason, maybe to the Braves or somewhere else, the Yankees might have to take some of McCann’s salary no matter where he goes. It seems that his All-Star days are behind him, but he can probably be a lot more useful on a team like the Braves, where he’d be a massive upgrade, and his presence off the field will be a lot more appreciated.