Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Reaction To Signing Brian McCann

I think it's safe to say that other Yankee news has been put on hold for a bit.

"Robinson who?"

The team obviously needed an upgrade at the catching position for 2014, and they certainly got one. Last season Yankee catchers hit a combined .213/.289/.298, along with only 8 home runs. Meanwhile, Brian McCann hit .256/.336/.461, to go along with 20 homers. And keep in mind that Brian's batting average was twenty points lower than his career mark in that department. In fact, all three of his triple-slash numbers were lower than his career marks. While I didn't include McCann in my "What I'd Like To See For 2014" roster, it certainly wasn't because I didn't like him as a player.

But what about the contract?

While $17 million a year is a lot of money, that's hardly my concern. I'm not the one paying these guys. My concern when it comes to money has revolved solely around how it affects the team. The Yankees have talked about getting under a payroll of $189 million in 2014 for a couple of years now, but the team has made it clear that it's a goal... not a mandate. So if putting a winning team on the field means spending more, then so be it. It's not like 2014 is their only chance of saving money when it comes to the Luxury Tax.

Even if the team pushes to stay under $189 million, this deal for McCann does not destroy it. Even if the team were to bring back all of their arbitration eligible players, which is highly unlikely, then the payroll is currently around $104 million. Add Robinson Cano for $25 million, Masahiro Tanaka for $10 million, and Carlos Beltran for $15 million, and that brings things to $154 million. You can also add $12 million for the team's portion of league bonuses, as well as players not on the active roster, bringing the total to $166 million. So the team could add $14 million more to the payroll, and leave themselves about $9 million for mid-season additions.

Of course, the Yankees still have to think about third base. I mean, they could probably get by with the tandem of Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki in left field, along with Alfonso Soriano getting some time out there too, but Eduardo Nunez is the only option currently on the team for the hot corner. And nobody wants that.

On top of that, the Yankees could use somebody good to pair with David Robertson to finish off wins. As of right now Shawn Kelly would be slotted into the set-up role, and although it's not as bad as starting Nunez at third base, that's still not a very attractive option. Thankfully relievers, even good ones, can be had without spending a ton.

Putting payroll to the side for now, should we be concerned about the length of the contract?

Brian McCann's contract is guaranteed for five years, and with his injury history it's highly likely that he'll either become the regular DH in a few years or will move to 1B once Mark Teixiera's contract ends after the 2016 season.

The only real concern is how effective a player McCann will be down the road. He will be 35 in the final year of his deal, which is not that old. If we were in the National League, and Brian would have to catch more often than in the AL (thank you, DH), then I'd be more concerned. But I believe the team can keep him healthy. And if he's healthy, I see no reason why he can't continue to hit 20+ home runs a season, and bat around .270. Which is better than what Jorge Posada produced on average in his final three years.

Speaking of Posada, I have every reason to believe McCann will be at least as valuable as Jorge was at the end of his career. And while Jorge made $39 million in his final three years, McCann will only make $12 million more over his final three years (not a lot comparing 2009-2011 payrolls to what 2016-2018 payrolls could look like).

Ah, but speaking of the future!

Some people have expressed concern about the future of youngsters JR Murphy, Austin Romine, and Gary Sanchez. Honestly, the only player whose future with the team is truly in jeopardy is Austin Romine. Well, I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that doesn't bother me. Romine could turn out to be a solid MLB catcher, but I don't think he's going to be anything special. He's certainly not the type of player/prospect that should keep a team from getting a player the caliber of Brian McCann.

While Romine is ready for MLB, Murphy and Sanchez will likely spend one and two more years in the minors. At that point, one or both of them will be able to "sit under the learning tree" for a couple years before taking over behind the plate, while McCann becomes the regular DH or first baseman.

On that note, I do believe at least one of Romine, Murphy, and Sanchez will be traded in order to avoid spending more money in free agency to fill holes on the team. It would be great if the team could keep as many catchers as possible, as there's really no such thing as having too much depth, but the Yankees likely don't have that luxury. However, I wouldn't expect a big-name player in return. What's more likely is that Romine, along with a couple others, is traded to get a good set-up man or closer.

So, in conclusion, the Yankees greatly improved their offense, didn't hinder their ability to get under $189 million for 2014, and didn't hurt the future of the team. Brian McCann's contract may be for a lot of money, and five years is a long time, but I think they did a pretty good job with this signing.

"Thanks, bro."

1 comment:

  1. The thing that should worry you most when comparing him to Jorge Posada is the fact that Jorgie was a second basemen through much of his minor league career and into his 20's if I remember right. McCann has always been a catcher and has a lot more mileage on his knees.

    We have the DH spot though thankfully and I honestly think the Yankees only need and want him to catch full time until Teixeira is a free agent. The 6th year, option, scares me a little because I havent read whether its team, player, mutual, or vesting.

    Either way I have been clamoring for him for a long time, maybe before anyone, and I am happy this finally came to fruition .


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