Come the conclusion of the 2016 World Series, the Yankees will be expecting to receive calls on Brian McCann. During a nearly hour-long press conference on the state of the Yankees’ franchise, Brian Cashman said that McCann would still have a role with the team, but also showed that trading him is a distinct option that he will entertain.
After Gary Sanchez seemed to cement his future with an unbelievable rookie campaign, McCann seemed to become even more expendable than thought at the trade deadline. Sanchez, who began his rookie season just 229 plate appearances ago in the beginning of August, led all rookies in OPS, and was tied among AL rookies for the league lead in home runs with Nomar Mazara.
Brian Cashman: I expect to receive calls for Brian McCann. pic.twitter.com/V9fJn5U6Zt— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 6, 2016
Cashman admits in the press conference that McCann would absolutely still have a role on the Yankees’ roster, specifically citing that he is a left-handed power hitter capable of designated hitting. Where Sanchez is a right-handed power-hitting catcher, the implication is that McCann could have some platoon advantages.
It’s a very small sample size with Sanchez at the moment, but the right-hander actually hit slightly worse against left-handed pitching than he did against right-handed pitching. That being said, he still hit well above the league average against both right-handed and left-handed pitching.
Despite having found a spot on his roster for McCann then, Cashman seems to be leaning towards listening to offers for the 32-year old catcher:
“I’m going to be expecting—as happened this trade deadline—to receive calls on Brian McCann. I never approached Brian McCann this trade deadline—as we moved a lot of different players that were certainly valuable pieces—I never approached Brian McCann because... I think he is very valuable. I didn’t waste his time to see if he would even waive his no-trade because I’ve got to be satisfied first. If something makes sense with our baseball operations and ownership, then, and only then, would I approach Brian McCann.”
While what Cashman is saying may be completely true, it is also a team executive making sure he gets fair value for one of his players. Hampering McCann’s value is his no-trade clause and the fact that he is owed $34 million over the next two seasons with a $15 million team option for 2019.
So, while a left-handed hitting backup catcher/designated hitter capable of hitting 20 home runs certainly has value, McCann comes at a tremendous financial cost as well. The 23-year old Sanchez is not only looked on now as a better offensive contributor, but also one of the more refined young defensive catchers in the game as well.
McCann’s name showed up in the rumor mill throughout the season, and it only intensified once the Yankees appeared to be rebuilding. Thanks to savvy deals at the deadline, it appears a large portion of the rebuild phase is over with only some burdensome contracts remaining. The Yankees should look like a competitive team next year, and if they can rid themselves of some of McCann’s contract, it will only make their ability to make future investments stronger.