COMMENTARY | Periodically throughout the offseason, we have been trying to find ways to spend New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner's money.
Hey, it's not ours! Spending somebody's else's money is a lot easier, and more fun, than spending your own. So, let's keep doing it.
Today, let's talk about all of the chatter that the Yankees are in pursuit of free-agent catcher Brian McCann. What do you say, Yankees fans? Are you in favor of the Yankees making a big pitch to the power-hitting 29-year-old former Atlanta Braves catcher?
I know I would love to see it.
The Yankees lost Russell Martin to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent after the 2012 season. They lived through a season with a group of backup catchers masquerading as starters. Chris Stewart hit .211 and drove in 25 runs in 294 at-bats. Austin Romine hit .207 and drove in 10 runs in 135 at-bats. Francisco Cervelli missed most of the season. None of those players is a true major league starting catcher.
McCann, a lefty hitter, has bashed at least 20 home runs in seven of his eight seasons as a regular player. In nine big-league seasons, McCann has 176 home runs and has been named to the National League All-Star team seven times.
His left-handed swing seems an ideal fit for Yankee Stadium, and McCann is said to be intrigued by the possibility. He also appreciates how some time as a designated hitter could aid his body.
"He's made for New York," one rival executive said. "This guy is as mentally tough as it gets."
The Yankees can talk all the want about the defensive abilities of Stewart, Romine and Cervelli. Or the potential of J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez, highly regarded young catchers in their minor-league system. They simply can't live with basically no offense from the position, however. McCann is also considered to be a good defensive catcher, though his career percentage of runners caught stealing (24 percent) is slightly below the big-league average of 28 percent during his tenure.
What will the price tag likely be?
Over The Monster, which covers the Boston Red Sox, expects McCann to get a five-year, $75-80 million deal. That doesn't seem unreasonable in length or money despite the fact that McCann has already caught more than 1,000 big-league games and nearly 9,000 innings, especially since McCann seems like the type of player who could transition to DH toward the end of the deal if necessary.
To me, McCann seems like a good fit at a position where the Yankees could definitely use an upgrade. The Red Sox and Texas Rangers are among McCann's other potential destinations.
What happens if the Yankees miss out on McCann? There really aren't any other appealing free-agent catchers on the market. If McCann goes elsewhere, the Yankees might be best-served to stick with their in-house options and use their money to fill other needs.
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