This year, despite all the disappointment, the Yankees are still sending three players to the All-Star Game in San Diego, including Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances. That's pretty good for a team that has hovered right around .500 for most of the season, but there should be one more. Despite whatever expectations fans or the team's front office have placed on Brian McCann, he's still one of the better catchers in the game, and he should have been an All-Star.
Ask anyone about McCann and his five-year, $85 million contract, and they'll probably consider it a disappointment. Maybe not a complete failure or anything like that, but definitely below what was expected. But why is that? Brian Cashman recently stated that "this year, we have not been getting what we expected" from McCann, but what does he expect? What did anyone expect? After all, he's a catcher and there aren't that many catchers out there who are the linchpin of their team's offense. There is Buster Posey, Salvador Perez, Wilson Ramos, Jonathan Lucroy, and J.T. Realmuto. Those are the catchers who make up an integral part of their team's offense, and those are also the only catchers who are having a better offensive season than Brian McCann.
The Yankees seem to expect their catcher to be their power hitter in the middle of the lineup, but that's not how the position really works. This year catchers have an 84 wRC+, making them the most offensively inept position in Major League Baseball today. To say that Brian McCann is disappointing for hitting .241/.343/.457 with 14 home runs is a statement completely detached from reality. If you're disappointed that McCann has been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball you have no idea what true disappointment really looks like.
The catchers that made the AL roster include starter Salvador Perez, Matt Wieters, and Stephen Vogt. Wieters has had a solid year, hitting .264/.317/.427 with nine home runs, but McCann beats that production overall, 113 wRC+ vs. 95 wRC+. The Orioles will send Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, and Brad Brach to the All-Star Game, so it's not like Wieters needed to be there because the team had no one else. AL manager Ned Yost made that decision. Even Stephen Vogt, who was selected just because the Athletics needed someone, isn't even the best player on his team. Marcus Semien or Rich Hill likely deserved the nod over Vogt, but it cost McCann a spot. There will always be All-Star snubs, but McCann's is just a testament to how unappreciated he is at this point.
Of course, it's not like McCann is having a perfect season. He's had his fair share of struggles. He's now 32 and his abilities have begun to decline. He's become a pull hitter, is struggling against lefties, and his catching skills have eroded, but we can't act like his bat isn't still one of the best in the game for a catcher. Brian McCann should have been an All-Star, so it makes no sense for the Yankees to be complaining about him now. They can't act surprised, like they didn't see his decline coming, because they have already dealt with more aging All-Stars than any other team. They were the ones who signed him to a five-year deal at the age of 30 on purpose. Maybe the decline is happening a little faster than expected, but he's still productive. He isn't Mark Teixeira.
The Yankees being disappointed about McCann's production is just misguided confusion over how bad this team has been, and they need to point a finger somewhere. Instead of looking at McCann, who shouldn't have ever been expected to be THE guy, they should look at themselves for allowing this team to fall so far. Brian McCann should have been an All-Star, and he only missed out because of roster selections. That shouldn't change the narrative to fit the Yankees' delusions.