Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Should The Yankees Target Brian McCann?

The Atlanta Braves have been without their All Star catcher Brian McCann for the entire 2013 season to date due to him having reconstructive shoulder surgery last October . Brian has been down with the Rome Braves rehabbing the injury and could be back as early as next week which could create quite the problem, albeit a good problem, behind the dish in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves have had the catching duo of Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird behind the dish all season long and have had better than expected results from the combo which could make the decision all the more difficult for manager Fredi Gonzalez when the team gets McCann back healthy.

Brian McCann is a left handed batting catcher that will not turn 30 until the 2014 season who has a power stroke that could be tailored for the new Yankees Stadium. Brian would also be a rental player for the Yankees as he is only signed through the 2013 season before he walks for free agency, i'm presuming anyway. Brian has played in no less than 121 games in his eight seasons with the Braves, not counting his partial rookie campaign of course where he only got into 59 games, and the 121 game campaign was last season when he fought that shoulder injury all season long. McCann has a career triple slash of .279/.351/.475 and has been part of six National League All Star Games from 2006-2011. With the Yankees without Francisco Cervelli for the next six weeks, at least, after fracturing his hand and requiring surgery the Yankees may want to strike while the iron is hot with McCann because his counterparts are making it almost impossible not to trade McCann at this point. Brian is also making $12 million this season on a Braves team that is probably stretched to the limit on payroll this season so all the cards seems to be falling in the wrong places for McCann in a Braves uniform.

Evan Gattis is a right handed hitting rookie catcher that the Braves called up when they learned that they would start the season without McCann and he has not disappointed. In 20 games this season Gattis has a .236/.291/.556 triple slash with 6 HR's and 14 RBI's. Gattis stayed above or around the .300 mark at all the upper levels in the Braves system and consistently showed 20 home run power so this kid seems like the real deal behind the plate and may ultimately push Brian McCann, the hometown boy, out of town come the July 31st trade deadline or sooner. Gattis has already accumulated a 0.7 WAR in an 1/8 of a season so at this rate he would be nearly a six win player according to WAR by seasons end, something Brian McCann has yet to do coming as close as 5.5 WAR in 2008. With the Braves having so much money wrapped up in their infield Gattis' attractive league minimum salary of $490 K will definitely factor into the decision for the Braves as well as if the on the field play was not enough and could be the determining factor in whether or not Gattis stays up with the big league club or heads down to AAA for McCann.

Gerald Laird signed a two year contract worth $3 million to be the back up catcher for the Atlanta Braves replacing David Ross in the role before the 2012 season. Gerald, in limited playing time of only nine games and 33 at bats so far in 2013, has put up a triple slash of .333/.419/.407 with nine hits and five RBI's on the season without a home run. Laird is known for his defense behind the plate as well as game calling and I cannot see a way where the Braves would let him go, trade him, or send him down just months after signing him to a two year deal. The Yankees may make moves like that, see Kei Igawa, but the Braves just do not operate like that and honestly probably cannot operate like that. I cannot see a way where Laird is not the back up catcher, barring injury, for the rest of the 2012 season thus leaving no other options for the Braves and Brian McCann.

All the stars seem to aligning that the Braves have to and will trade Brian McCann sometime this summer before he hits free agency, assuming he comes back healthy. I have yet to hear rumors of this, but when do you when it comes to Frank Wren and the Braves, and would like to be proactive about this and get talking with Brian Cashman and Wren to get a deal done. The Braves needs seem to center around their pitching with the likes of Brandon Beachy, Cristhian Martinez, and Jonny Venters already on the disabled list or maybe some infield or outfield depth that can win now or in the very near future so I am not sure how well the Yankees stack up in a trade. We could offer an Adam Warren or a minor league reliever not named Mark Montgomery or a David Adams in a trade but would it be enough? The Braves don't necessarily HAVE to trade McCann while Gattis has plenty of options left and it is not exactly a salary dump type trade but I think the Yankees and Braves have a good history of rapes trades and I think they can get this done. I am not saying that I am for this or against this move because I have all the confidence in the world in Francisco Cervelli, plus I cannot see McCann being a $12 million back up not even on the Yankees, but this just seems like a move that the Yankees would and will make come July. If you want to look on the bright side though McCann could be the latest edition to the Yankees Wives & Girlfriends section of the site, I'm just saying...

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)