There has been much talk about the Yankees trading away Brian McCann ever since Gary Sanchez came onto the scene. McCann has been the team’s starting catcher since he signed a five-year, $85 million deal before the 2014 season. By August 2016, his age-32 season, he had been pushed out of the starting role. Now it’s time to wonder if he will be on the move this offseason because, while the Yankees could still use his power, there are some teams who need a veteran catcher a lot more.
Here are five teams who could bring McCann over to their side in a trade. Keep in mind that the $34 million owed to him through 2018 (not to mention a $15 million option) will weigh on any deal for any team.
This is the easy one, considering they very nearly made the move at the trade deadline. The Braves have been pining for their former backstop for months, lacking a veteran presence at the position since he originally left. Bringing back a hometown favorite to open up their new stadium in 2017 could be part of the equation, but the final decision will come down to on-field performance.
The Yankees wanted Mike Foltynewicz and Ender Inciarte for McCann, but Atlanta wasn’t willing to pull the trigger on that deal. It’s debatable how good of a package that would have been for either side. Once we get into the offseason and teams start scrounging around for players, I can definitely see the Braves looking to revisit trade talks. Maybe the package changes, but they will certainly have to offer up something good because the Yankees won’t just be giving him away.
After a breakout season where he hit .307/.354/.496 with 22 home runs, Wilson Ramos tore up his knee, potentially putting his Nationals career to an end. Washington has the money to re-sign their catcher to a lucrative deal, but when you consider that the 29-year-old has struggled over the last two seasons, it’s tough to see where his actual talent level sits. If Ramos ends up going elsewhere, Brian Cashman would be smart to press on the Nats, since they are the team best suited to eat McCann’s contract.
They might not have the financial might, but they do have a serious need at the position. In 2013 and 2014 it looked like Yan Gomes would be the team’s long-term solution behind the plate. They signed him to an extension, but the bottom immediately fell out. He’s now gone the last two seasons without much in the way of offense, and Cleveland needs to move on. Adding McCann’s money could be a tall order for the Indians, even though it would drastically improve their offense. I mean, their catcher had the worst offensive season in the league this year.
Watching Jason Castro hit over the last few seasons must be painful for the Astros and their fans. With Castro hitting the free agent market this winter, it would seem like Houston is open for business. They have Evan Gattis, but it is probably better to leave him in the DH role because he is pretty bad behind the plate. McCann might be aging, and his abilities behind the plate eroding, but he would still be a huge improvement over both Castro and Gattis for different reasons.
The Yankees and Mets never make a trade, but if they are ever destined to make a deal, this could be it. At this point, it feels like Travis d'Arnaud will never be the player the Mets have wanted him to be. He struggled at the plate in 2016, hitting just .247/.307/.323, and wrestled with injury in the years prior. He’s certainly young enough to wait on, but this is a good team that needs some definite power next year. The two could even share time behind the plate, and McCann could see some reps at first base with Lucas Duda’s status in question.
Brian McCann isn’t a perfect solution for any of these teams. He’s not even a perfect solution for the Yankees, which is why they will likely look to move him. The biggest problem with McCann staying in the Bronx is that, despite his power potential, he wouldn’t really be that good of a designated hitter. In 2016, the 32-year-old had a 103 wRC+, while DHs had a 115 wRC+ league wide. Designated hitters have not hit that poorly since 1993 when they had a 98 wRC+ that year.
It’s tough to know what will happen, but I have to imagine that someone will eventually bite and McCann will be moved. Who knows what kind of package deal we could be looking at or how much money will have to be eaten. The Yankees just might be better off getting a real DH when everything is said and done.
Who do you think will eventually trade for McCann? Do you want him to stay or go?