Posted on November 10, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Since the middle of last summer, there has been rampant speculation that the New York Yankees are trying to trade catcher Brian McCann. The veteran was linked to his former team, the Atlanta Braves, over the summer, but nothing materialized. However, there are now reports that the Yankees may have finally found a potential trade partner that is interested in acquiring McCann, and that team may be the Houston Astros.
A source has told the New York Daily News that Yankees GM Brian Cashman has identified a team that may be willing to engage in serious talks about McCann. If it’s not the Braves, many believe that team could be the Astros. Cashman has not spoken to McCann directly, but he has told his agent, B.B. Abbott, that the team could look to trade the catcher this winter.
“(Abbott) just said, ‘Keep me posted; why don’t you guys go through the process and if you have something you need to talk to us about, give us a call,'” Cashman explains. “I don’t have any guidance. He hasn’t told me no on anything. I do have a personal belief of what’s more workable than others.” Cashman adds that he has yet to tell Abbott anything specific, and that at the moment he is “engaging offers” involving McCann.
It’s no surprise that the Yankees are attempting to trade McCann, as they would like to make Gary Sanchez their regular catcher after the youngster had a sensational second half of the season in 2016. Right now, McCann would be in line to be a part-time catcher, while also getting regular at bats at DH. However, if the Yankees were to trade McCann, they could explore the free agent market for other possible DH candidates, including former Yankee Carlos Beltran, who is arousing interest from several teams early in the offseason.
The soon-to-be 33-year old McCann is not the offensive force he was during the prime of his career in Atlanta. But he hit .242 with 20 home runs and 13 doubles in 2016, proving that he still brings something to the table offensively. McCann will make $17 million in each of the next two seasons before becoming a free agent, so it’s not hard to image a team taking on his contract, especially if the Yankees are willing to chip in some money.
From Houston’s perspective, the Astros are said to be looking for both a catcher and a left-handed bat, and so trading for McCann would fill both of those needs in one move. Unless the team re-signs Jason Castro, Houston’s top catcher right now is another former Atlanta backstop, Evan Gattis, and the Astros may be more comfortable with him in a DH role rather than being their every day catcher.
It’s important to note that McCann has a full no-trade clause, which is why Cashman needs to keep Abbott in the loop, as he will ultimately need McCann’s approval to close any deal. But with McCann likely to lose playing time to Sanchez moving forward, it would make sense for him to approve to a team like the Astros that can offer him the chance to be the every day catcher.
There appears to be nothing imminent between the Yankees and Astros, or between the Yankees and any other team. However, a trade of McCann to Houston would appear to make sense for all parties involved, including McCann himself. There’s no guarantee a deal will get done, but it will be something to monitor closely as the offseason continues to unfold.