One name we’re going to hear quite a lot of during the offseason is Brian McCann of the New York Yankees. He’s not a free agent, but the potential returning trade to the Atlanta Braves has been mentioned a time or five over the last few months. It’ll intensify in the offseason.
So where does this stand? McCann is almost guaranteed to be the backup catcher next season, with stints at DH, due to the rise of Gary Sanchez. Sanchez, who will soon be turning 24, played in 53 games and made 229 plate appearances. That was enough for him to hit 20 home runs while batting .299 and posting a 1.032 OPS. He played quite a lot of DH but there doesn’t seem to be a defensive issue with him at catcher, hence the move to make him a starter at the position.
The logical thing to do, considering McCann has $34 million left on his contract (two more years) and another $15 million team option in 2019 pending on certain milestones, is trade him, especially when the Braves seem eager to bring him back, even if the Yankees will have to eat away part of his contract. McCann’s power has been fine in New York, batting at least 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons. But he’s been far less productive offensively than in Atlanta, with a .235 batting average and a .731 OPS in three seasons.
The Yankees are asking for a lot in this deal. They want Ender Inciarte or Mike Foltynewicz, a centerfielder and a right-handed pitcher. In any case, McCann has a no-trade clause, so he can veto any deal the Yankees want to make. From McCann’s agent’s words, it’s possible to understand they haven’t heard anything from the Yankees regarding a trade, so this all could be media speculation, nothing more.
As for general manager Brian Cashman, he seems to insist that Sanchez and McCann can work well together and there’s no need for a trade. Cashman sees McCann as capable of catching at least twice a week or playing a lot of DH. From his point of view, he has two catchers who can hit 20 home runs a season or more: One from the right side of the plate and one from the left.