As of Saturday night, the 23rd day of November, the Yankees have officially made their first significant offseason acquisition. Brian McCann, who was a priority going into the offseason, has signed a 5-year, $85 million contract to be the team’s catcher. McCann, who will be 30 on February 20, has a deal that could be worth $100M with a 6th-year option.
Brian McCann had spent his entire nine-year career with the Atlanta Braves. Excluding the season when he was a rookie in 2005, he has played in at least 120 games in every season except this past season. He has slugged at least 20 homers in six straight seasons and in seven of the last eight seasons. He drove in a career-high 94 runs in 2009 and hit a career-high 24 home runs in both 2006 and 2011. His career batting average is also a very respectable .277, especially for a catcher.
McCann, who is originally from Georgia, has played in the All-Star Game in seven out of his nine seasons. It is basically seven out of eight since he only played in 59 games in his rookie season. He is the only Braves player who has been selected to the National League All-Star team in each of his first three full seasons. All-Star Game worthy production is not anything close to what the Yankees received last season from the combination of Austin Romine, Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli.
They are all catchers that are more suitable for a back-up role, but as a result of not re-signing Russell Martin after the 2012 season, Cervelli was the starter in the beginning until his injury, and then Stewart was the primary catcher. Romine played in 60 games, starting 43.
The three catchers combined to hit only eight homers, but as previously mentioned, McCann has six straight years of 20 homers. Cervelli, even though he received a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, could be the back-up catcher next season since the Yankees plan to tender a contract to Cervelli. Stewart is not expected to return to the Bronx Bombers.
This signing was very much needed and gives the Yankees a catcher they can rely on behind the plate. McCann might not be the defensive catcher that Stewart is, but McCann is an above-average pitch framer, according to Keith Law. Last season he had a .995 fielding percentage and threw out 24 percent of base stealers. His career-high was 30 percent in 2010. Stewart threw out 31 percent of base stealers last season and .997 fielding percentage. McCann definitely will not hurt the Yankees on defense and will greatly help them on offense.
Joe Girardi will now have a catcher who can help the Yankees behind the plate and in the batting lineup. McCann has also recently said that he is open to learning to play first base and playing DH if it will help his new team. That is perfect for the Yankees because Mark Teixeira usually doesn’t need many days off. The only position McCann played with the Braves is catcher.
Since this signing is out of the way, they can now concentrate on signing Carlos Beltran or bringing back Curtis Granderson in the outfield, as well as re-signing second baseman Robinson Cano.