LADY AT THE BAT: Trade Breakdown: Brian McCann To The Astros

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trade Breakdown: Brian McCann To The Astros

On December 3, 2013, the Yankees signed Brian McCann to a big money, six-year deal, and introduced him as their starting catcher shortly thereafter. The ink wasn't dry on the contract before people were wondering aloud, saying things like, "What about Gary Sanchez?" and, "He'll never get a chance now!"

Fast forward three years. Thanks to the Yankees' terrible start this past season, which led to their uncommon position as sellers, Gary Sanchez was called up and given a long look. By the time the final game of the season rolled around, Sanchez was the starting catcher. He earned four first place votes in the AL Rookie Of The Year voting, and Brian McCann earned a trade out of New York.

It was made official on Thursday. McCann was traded to the Houston Astros for right-handed pitching prospects, Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.  The Astros will pay two-thirds of the remainder of McCann's Yankee deal with the Yankees taking care of the other third. 

This financial agreement was, likely, what kept McCann from being dealt back to his hometown Atlanta Braves. According to rumors, the Yankees were dead-set against paying the majority of McCann's salary, something the Braves totally expected them to do. Hearing this, I thought a trade of McCann was unlikely, due to his blanket no-trade clause and strong ties to the Atlanta area. I was really surprised that he agreed to go elsewhere, but I guess he understands the Yankees' total commitment to Gary Sanchez.

Speaking of Sanchez, it is safe to say that he will be the 2017 Opening Day catcher, whether he has a good spring training or not. After that, all eyes will be on him to see what he can do in a full season. One beat writer cautioned that if he performs poorly, he could end up in AAA by June. I doubt that will happen. If he regresses, they will keep running him out there, just as they did with Aaron Hicks this past year and Didi Gregorius the year before.

Besides giving Sanchez a stranglehold on the catcher's job, McCann's trade could open the door for a return of Carlos Beltran. A switch-hitting DH who's familiar both with the Yankees and with New York makes a lot of sense.

Trading McCann made a lot of sense, too. Best of luck both to him and to Sanchez in 2017.

No comments: