The New York Yankees have agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with catcher Brian McCann that includes a $15 vesting option for 2019, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rosenthal's report follows an earlier report from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that the sides were "on the verge" of agreeing to a contract.
The deal, which is pending a physical, will be worth six years and $100 million if McCann's option vests for 2019. It also includes a full no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
The Yankees have been prioritizing catching all offseason, and have now landed the best backstop on the free agent market. The team primarily used Chris Stewart behind the plate last season, but his lack of offensive production (.211 with 4 HR and 25 RBI in 109 games) forced the team to make a drastic move this offseason. Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy also saw time at the position, but struggled offensively as well.
Grant noted earlier that McCann had completely ruled out the Texas Rangers, who have long been considered one of the favorites to land him this winter. The Rangers added Prince Fielder in a trade earlier this week, lessening their need to add offense on the free agent market.
Rosenthal adds that the Rockies made a late, strong run at signing McCann, which comes as a bit of a surprise. After making strong efforts to sign McCann and first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu in recent weeks, it seems as though the team is willing to spend significantly on free agents this offseason.
In addition to the Rockies, Rangers and Yankees, the Red Sox were known to be seriously involved in the McCann sweepstakes after losing to the Phillies in their quest to sign Carlos Ruiz. Boston could also bring back Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is widelt considered the second-best free agent catcher on the market behind McCann. The Angels have also been mentioned as a potential suitor for McCann.
In 102 games with the Braves in 2013, McCann hit .256 with 20 HR and 57 RBI, notching his sixth consecutive 20-home run season while being named to the National League All-Star team for the seventh time in his nine-year career. He is not expected to re-sign with the Braves, with whom he has played since breaking into the league in 2005. In 1,105 games over nine seasons in Atlanta, McCann is a lifetime .277 hitter with 176 HR and 661 RBI.
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