Whether the New York Yankees acknowledge it or not, the trade rumors regarding Brian McCann aren’t going away. The obvious destination is Atlanta and the Braves, but the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are more than willing to be a part of this trade discussion.
Right now, McCann is probably only open to an Atlanta return, where he played from 2005 to 2013, and where he makes his home. He has a no-trade clause which gives him plenty of leverage in all of this, and the Yankees have also said they don’t mind having two catchers who can hit 20 home runs a season. McCann, if he stays, is going to be a backup catcher to Gary Sanchez when he isn’t working as a designated hitter. It doesn’t hurt his salary, but he wants to be an everyday catcher and not just once or twice a week, he’ll need to find a new team.
The Braves have been going after McCann since the middle of the previous season. They’re in rebuilding mode, and while McCann doesn’t offer some bright, long-term future, he’s an accomplished veteran who would upgrade their catcher spot, and help them break in the new guys. McCann was a 7-time All-Star during his time with the Braves, winning the silver slugger award five times. Those are some happy memories to get back to, even if it’s almost like admitting that his time with them was a failure.
The Astros and Nationals offer something different: Playing for the playoffs, playing with the hope of making the World Series. McCann joined the Yankees to win big and get paid big. He’ll be making good money for at least two more seasons ($34 million combined) and there’s also a $15 million vesting option for 2019. Even without it, I won’t be surprised if the Braves or Astros ask the Yankees to chip in, maybe quite a bit, in order to carry out the trade.
While this is the offseason, the Yankees could be looking to see how this develops, with no rush. Right now, they don’t seem to be too aggressive when it comes to removing McCann from their payroll. While playing him less and less makes it more difficult to “sell” his $17 million salary to another team, this could be one of the potential deals that becomes more attractive to everyone involved when approaching the trade deadline, and not during the offseason when everything seems possible.