Saturday, November 23, 2013
Hot Stove Update: Yankees Sign Brian McCann
This does not really come as a surprise. The Yankees have struggled at catcher since the decline and end of Jorge Posada's career. Last year the position was a veritable black hole. I mean, my God! The Yankees, yes the Yankees, were reduced to signing not just one, but two Giants castoff reserve catchers! So, the Yankees needed a catcher and needed one badly. The Yankees also play in a stadium that heavily favors LH batters. Brian McCann bats LH. Match made in Heaven!
The deal is for 5 years/$85 M with a vesting option for an additional year at $15 M. Much as I like McCann as a player, I am breathing a sigh of relief that it isn't the Giants who are going to be on the hook for that contract. As we have pointed out many times, catching is a tough gig. Catchers tend to not have long peaks to their careers. Brian McCann has never played another position besides catcher, although I suppose he is a good enough hitter to be a DH. He will be entering his age 30 season. He will be 34 yo in the final season of the contract not counting the option year.
OK, 34 is not impossibly old, even for a catcher, but take a look at the number of games McCann has played over the last 4 seasons:
Steamer Projection System thinks he will play 113 games in 2014. As he ages, you would expect that number to continue to get smaller rather than bigger. Yeah, Brian McCann has been beat up in his career. Excellent hitter though, and Yankee Stadium is tailor made for him. Tough to shake the feeling that this might be one more bad contract on the Yankees' books before it's done.
Another interesting angle: The Yankees have been working toward getting under the luxury tax level for several years now. Does this signal a reversal of that strategy? How will it affect the Robinson Cano negotiations?