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Yankees, Brian McCann agree to five-year, $85 million deal

Nov 23, 2013, 6:10 PM EDT

mccann getty Getty Images

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees and McCann have reached agreement on a deal, pending a physical.

McCann will get five years and $85 million with a vesting option for a sixth year which could bring the total to $100 million. His $17 million AAV (average annual value) is the highest-ever for a catcher signed via free agency. The Twins’ Joe Mauer has a $24 million AAV, but it was part of an extension.

The Yankees still have Robinson Cano to worry about and spots in the rotation to fill, so one wonders whether keeping their payroll $189 million next season is still a goal. Of course, the Yankees would get significant savings if A-Rod’s 211-game suspension is upheld, but we may not know the answer to that until after the holidays.

5:41 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal now reports that the Yankees and McCann are close to a five-year deal worth more than $80 million.

5:25 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the Yankees and McCann remain in “serious” discussions, but that a deal is not yet close. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is reporting the same.

5:17 p.m. ET: According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Brian McCann is on the verge of signing a long-term contract with the Yankees.

McCann was also being courted by the Rangers, but Grant was told by two sources that the free agent catcher has ruled them out as an option. While one source tells Grant that a deal with the Yankees is close, naturally McCann’s agent declined to confirm that anything is imminent.

Landing McCann would obviously be huge for the Yankees, who had a miserable .213/.289/.298 batting line from their catchers this past season after they let Russell Martin walk. Only the Blue Jays, Mariners, White Sox, and Marlins had a worse OPS than the Yankees (.587) at the position.

McCann returned from shoulder surgery to hit .256/.336/.461 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI over 102 games this year. He has amassed at least 20 home runs in each of the last six seasons and seven out of the last eight. He’ll turn 30 years old in February. The Braves extended a qualifying offer to McCann before he hit free agency, so the Yankees would have to surrender their first-round pick (No. 18 overall) in order to sign him.

  1. southofheaven81 - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    What are his defensive numbers like? Offensively this sounds like a good platoon with Cervelli.

    • tc4306 - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      At the price they’ll be paying?
      Yeah, right.

      • southofheaven81 - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        Platoon was the wrong word, but a catcher needs a solid backup to play a lot of games, particularly the year after shoulder surgery. Cervelli fits the bill.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        This most certainly means goodbye to Chris Stewart since the Yankees have already said they intend to tender Cervelli, Romine is still a pre-arb player. Stewart is the odd man out.

    • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      He had 91 hits last year.Paying $200,000 per hit. Ridiculous.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:48 PM

        Once again, pjmarn demonstrates his profoundly inane analysis of baseball.

      • rythestunner - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:33 AM

        Want to explain how you can compare the salary they’re paying him NEXT year to the hits he had LAST year and come to an average per hit?

  2. Walk - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Great signing if this one holds up.

  3. tc4306 - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Totally expected, with Cano and Beltran not far behind. Tanaka too if they can sort out the posting process and I would not rule out adding Drew to that list. Will be a lot different than the outfit wearing pinstripes a year ago.

  4. giantboy99 - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Should have resigned Russell Martin last year and used McCann’s money to fill the numerous holes we currently have.

  5. jerrymacdaid - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    One of many players the Yankees need. Going to be tough to stay under the cap though.

  6. tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Well, this should help reform his huge “I’m a giant dick” persona.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      He is going to be a clean shaven (ahem) “giant dick”.

    • drewzducks - Nov 23, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      Someone has to fill their deuche quota while A Rod is preoccupied.

  7. sawxalicious - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I’ll be the gets $72 mill/4 years

    • sawxalicious - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      Well, they gave him the fifth year, about the same average salary as I guessed…

  8. clarenceoveur - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    great signing, Yankees need help following all the unwritten rules

  9. tolan04 - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Screw the cap Yankees can’t play the low payroll game they don’t have the farm for it

  10. aphillieated - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    This means no Cano.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      This signing has absolutely no effect on the Yankees ability to re-sign Cano. But it does have the ability to put some pressure on him to get his head out of his butt with the 10 years/$310MM pie in the sky demand.

  11. uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Keeping my fingers crossed. This is a serious, serious, serious upgrade on anything the Yankees have and could have in the next several years within their system.left hand hitting catcher with power in Yankees Stadium couldn’t ask for much more. At $17 or $18MM per year it’s a good deal for the Yankees.

    And if worst comes to worse Tex’s contract expires after the 2016 season 3 years from now McCann can move to 1st base if necessary. Great signing if it happens.

    Now get Beltran, Jimenez or Tanaka and sign Infante and let Cano come crawling back begging for a deal of 7 years/$160MM.

    • spudchukar - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      UYF, mi amigo, it certainly is an upgrade, and a left-handed catcher with power in Yankee stadium is a plus, but he isn’t a defensive whiz, although it has been sometime since the Yanks have had anybody even as good as McCann.

      Keeping him away from the Sox is another plus, although this might mean they re-sign Drew and Ellsbury, although the Cards will be in on Drew and have cash to burn.

      Can the Yanks, sign Beltran, Cano and Drew and stay under the cap, I doubt it.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        I doubt the Yankees are interested in Drew. Beltran yes and Cano if he gets his head out of his ass with his demands.

        Personally I can see the Yankees signing: Beltran, Tanaka OR Jimenez regardless. Also with a little help from the arbitrator the Yankees could sign either Cano. I also think both Infante and Uribe are possibilities depending what happens with Cano and A-Rod.

        The off season has just started and this is a very good start for the Yankees. I have no doubt there is much more good news to come for Yankee fans.

      • spudchukar - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        Wouldn’t you rather have Kuroda back than Jimenez? Of course my post had some self-interest, cause if the Cards can acquire Drew they will be set. I’d like to see you guys get Beltran, he will be a beast in RF, with that porch, and with less ground to cover an ideal place for him.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM

        Spudchukar my friend actually I’d rather have Tanaka then either Kuroda or Jimenez. Kuroda will obviously only require a 1 year committment, Jimenez will probably cost the most on a AAV cost and I think Tanaka offers the most upside and marketing potential for thew Yankees.

        The problem with just re-signing Kuroda is he obviously tired out the last 6 weeks of the season and I think that’s not going to get better.

        Regardless the Yankees do need to upgrade their starting rotation because right now the only starters are: CC, Nova then it gets pretty questionable with Phelps, possibly Warren, etc…

  12. buffalo65 - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    A 30 year old? Good to see the Yanks get an injection of youth.

    • stabonerichard - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      2010 – 143 games played
      2011 – 128
      2012 – 121
      2013 – 102

      And a catcher about to turn 30. Those sneaky Yanks.

  13. gibbyfan - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I guess that makes Yadier Molina quite a bargain for the Cardinals……..I guess he would have gottne 20+ in the F/A market……it’s insane. Just goes the show that teams without huge cable contracts are just going to have to smarter than the teams with unlimited $$$

    • uscthom78 - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Darth Vader and company would have ponied up $30mill/year for Molina.

  14. autmorsautlibertas - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    No, no, no, no, no!

  15. NYTolstoy - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    not gonna lie i’m freaken ecstatic with this signing. I wanted McCann to sign with the Yankees since he’s rookie days in Atlanta. Im freaken happy!

    • Arods Other Doctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Braves are very smart to let him walk. Can’t wait for 4 years from now when the Yankees are paying enormous $$$$ for old and unproductive Arod, Tex, CC the Hut and now McCann. It’s going to be such a train wreck.

  16. NYTolstoy - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Agreed. Cervili will be a good back up to Mccan. Again I’m freaken excited…Passed my age but woop woop!

    • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      Don’t count out Romine as the possible back up. While he struggled prior to the All Star break after the All Star break he actually hit pretty well and is pretty good defensively.

  17. markofapro - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    You will suck, Yankees. Rays and Sox will still be better. When are the baseball geniuses gonna realize that these huge contracts are a bad deal?

  18. paperlions - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    This seems like a pretty good deal for the Yanks. Five years is fewer than I thought he could get, and the AAV isn’t even crazy high. For a guy that has been durable and provides value via above average defense at the most demanding position and provides great offensive value….$17.5M/year seems like a good investment.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      Has he been durable?

      He’s averaged 117 games over the last 3 years and 131 in his career (which isn’t abnormal).

      I have to assume a number of those were injuries, but I don’t follow the Braves that closely.

      • paperlions - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        131 games/year for a catcher in the NL (so he can’t DH) is a LOT of games.

        Since 2006 McCann is 4th in innings caught with 8371. That’s 271 innings behind the leader (Molina), which is an average difference of 34 inning/year…or about 4 games/year fewer than the most durable catcher in the league.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        But the 130 is an average of his career.

        117 over the last 3 is not a lot. And 2006 is when he became a starter, and he’s had a regular job since then. So I see your point, and it’s a fine stat to point to….but Catcher seems to be the position that has the most frequent turnover in the game.

        So it’s maybe a point in his favor in this regard, but I can’t think of many teams who have had the same starting catcher since 2006.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        Also, where can I find the innings caught stat? (I’m not being standoffish or argumentative in that request. I am actually curious because I’m not sure how to find it).

      • spudchukar - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        I believe most of his DL time was a result of his eyes which are probably OK now, and not the kind of disablement that would increase over time.

      • paperlions - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        Fangraphs has innings played at each defensive position for all players.

        If you don’t think playing that many games/innings as a catcher represents durability, I don’t know what to tell you. That is the very definition of durability. Of course, I used when McCann became a starter….what time frame would you prefer I use to evaluate his durability? 1990?

        Unfortunately, Fangraphs doesn’t allow an age filter on defensive stats…which is weird. How about this. McCann has only ever played catcher. Since 1900, he has the 14th most plate appearances of any catcher through his age 29 season, and many of those other “catchers” played other positions, moved off of catcher or DHed at times.

        It isn’t like I am arguing from bias here. I hate the Yankees and I think McCann is a giant asshole, but neither of those things affect my opinion of this signing or McCcann as a player. He is a great catcher, and by current salary standards, this deal isn’t that long or for that high of an AAV.

      • stabonerichard - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:34 PM

        So in other words, the Yanks are (again) paying top dollar for past performance, for a catcher whose durability has decreased each of the past 3 seasons & is about to be on the wrong side of 30. Shrewd move.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM

        My point about 2006 is that he’s been a regular starter since then (and removing 2005 when he started 59 games).

        And again, I don’t necessarily believe it’s a sign of his durability so much as a sign of his ability that he has managed to remain a starter since that time, with the same team, at a position that usually has a lot of turnover (which I think is equal parts ability and durability).

        All of that aside, though, averaging considerably fewer games in the last three seasons would seem to point to a breaking down, no?

        Obviously moving to the AL where he can DH (and has expressed a willingness to play first) mitigates those risks.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:48 PM

        And I can’t figure out how to expand beyond the top 12, but combined over the last 3 seasons, McCann doesn’t show up in innings caught.

  19. tbk201 - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Surprised. I thought they had an awesome catcher in their farm system (again) who was going to to obviate the need to overpay in free agency. Perhaps I was misinformed.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      They seem to have a habit of building up the reputation of their prospects (Montero for example) and then trade them to an unsuspecting team.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        Please point out which of BA/BPro/Klaw/ work for the Yankees so we know who to blame for highly rating their prospects?

        And Gary Sanchez, at 20, spent 24 games at AA last year. He’s not ready nor did anyone expect him to be.

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        The NY media and some of the popular national media most certainly do over-hype NYY prospects, and the guys church listed often spend many words explaining if the hype is justified or not, usually concluding that expectations should be tempered…which was even true of Montero.

  20. tfbuckfutter - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    This is good for the Yankees in the event Alex Rodriguez wins his arbitration hearing.

    Then they will have the guy who most plays the game the right way and the guy who most plays the game the wrong way to bring them to league average.

  21. sdelmonte - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    They overpaid, but I expected that for McCann. The catcher supply is thin.

    Good signing, but not the sort that changes much, given his health issues.

  22. markofapro - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    “Great offensive value?”..,., Good, not great but could benefit in AL. He’s just lucky he was a free agent in a void of good catchers on the market.
    Let me know in 2017 how the Yankees feel about this “investment.”

    • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      In 2017 he may very well be manning 1st base if the need arises since Tex’s contract expires after the 2016 season hopefully by all accounts the Yankees best prospect Garry Sanchez a catcher should be ready to be the full time catcher. BTW, yes he is a great offensive value as I’ve already stated above a left handed catcher hitting in Yankees stadium is always a very, very good thing.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      Tim Lincecum, who has a 72 ERA+ the last two years, resigned a two year deal averaging $17.5M a year. Spending that same amount on an above average hitting catcher is a no-brainer.

  23. pastabelly - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Good move for NY. I don’t understand why they are concerned about the luxury tax with all of the YES money.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      What Hal Steinbrenner has said is he’s tired of subsidizing other teams. He has no problem with spending the money on his own team but the thought of handing out money to other teams is not something that sits well with him. I don’t blame him one bit.

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        I do.

        First, they have an artificial monopoly, In a competitive market place, NY would have at least 4 teams rather than the artificially low total of 2…..and the Yankees won’t make any money if they don’t have teams to play against. Sports leagues are collectives, not independent businesses, without the rest of the league, the Yankees have no value, acting like they are independent is not consistent with reality as their profits are generated because they are part of a league, not because of the team on its own.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        Paperlions, why does your comment “I do” not surprise me.

        BTW, in a competitive marketplace the Giants wouldn’t be allowed to stop the Athletics from moving to San Jose. In a competitive marketplace teams wouldn’t effectively own a player for the first 6 years of his MLB career.

        My friend I’m afraid if you are looking for “utopia” in the baseball world, you are going to have to keep looking.

  24. myenta9345 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    the truth,i would rather have ELSTON HOWARD!!!!

  25. chip56 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    I’m excited about the signing but fear Girardi will still find a way to play Chris Stewart.

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