The moment that Gary Sanchez started mashing dingers left and right for the Yankees, Brian McCann’s days with the Yankees were numbered. He was a fine catcher who hit 20 homers yet again and had a no-trade clause, but there was little incentive to stay once it became clear that Sanchez was the future behind the plate.
Today marked the end of McCann’s three-year tenure in New York. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is on his way to the Astros in a deal that will bring two exciting young pitchers into the Yankees system: Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. The Yankees will pay $11 million of the rest of McCann’s contract.
The prospects are both right-handed starters down in A-ball, and Abreu is the bigger name. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in August 2013, the 21-year-old had a 3.50 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 90 innings with Low-A Quad Cities, good for a 10.4 K/9. He is still working on his control and command, but his repertoire certainly pops:
Albert Abreu has 4 pitches, touches 99. Jorge Guzman is better when he gears down to 97-99, touches 102-103. Good pickups for Yanks.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) November 17, 2016
Abreu was ranked seventh in the Astros’ system and should begin 2017 in High-A Tampa since he made a cameo at that level at the end of this season.
Guzman was another Dominican signing, though he signed his contract in June 2014. He is 20 now but will also be 21 by Opening Day. He will be a little more of a project since he is a little further away, having spent 2016 in Rookie ball with the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League. Guzman had a 4.05 ERA in 40 innings between the two levels, fanning 54 batters in the process.
Baseball America would have ranked Guzman 21st in the Astros’ system. Analyst Ben Badler believes that he will be a bullpen arm long-term, but he remains "one of the hardest throwers in the game." Not bad.
This is a pretty fair deal for both sides, as McCann is still a fine catcher. He just didn’t have as much of a role on the Yankees since he doesn’t quite hit enough to be a good full-time DH (his OPS+ in New York was right about league average at 99). So the Yankees covered a little bit of his contract to add some more fun prospects into an already loaded system. Abreu will be a thrill to track alongside James Kaprielian, Domingo Acevedo, Ian Clarkin and more pitchers who are a little closer (Chance Adams and Jordan Montgomery, to name a couple).
What did you think of the trade? We’ll have more coverage coming up in the next few days.