The Yankees needed to make some big moves this off-season and they are off to a fast start. The Yankees have signed slugger Brian McCann to a five year deal that is worth $85 million. The deal also includes a vesting option that could make his contract a six year deal worth $100 million. McCann is a left-handed power hitter who should fair well in Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees are no strangers to overpaying for talent that has already been established. The really big upside to McCann is that he is not yet reached his thirtieth birthday, he will in February, so he could be around for a while in New York.
The downside to this trade for Yankees fans is unquestionably McCann’s health which has been declining over the past two years. The good news, however, is that McCann has been catching his entire time in the big leagues, so far so, a quick move to first base could be all the slugger needs to stay healthy and fresh for a 162 game season.
McCann’s numbers are certainly alluring. He has hit more than 18 home runs in every one of the past eight seasons. In the past six seasons he has hit more than 20. These numbers are misleading however because McCann has played the first half of his career at Turner Field, an undeniably pitcher friendly park with deep dimensions.
Even despite of injuries McCann was able to slug better than .460 this year although he did drive in fewer than 70 RBI’s for the Braves. Another sign of concern for the Yankees is his performance in the postseason. The Braves have not advanced past the National League division series since McCann was named catcher. Although, this is not all McCann’s fault, he did the Braves no favors this year against the Dodgers when he failed to get a hit in the four games of that series.
McCann’s luck could swing after signing with the Yankees. He will be playing in Yankee Stadium, which is not only prone to the home run, but is also favorable for a left handed hitter like McCann.
It is not even just that McCann is a left handed hitter; he is also a pull hitter. McCann hits the majority of his homeruns to right field – a stat that was very alluring to the Yankees front office. Recently, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez have made their living for the Yankees by turning on inside pitches and sending them over the right field wall.
McCann has not been notoriously good against left-handed pitchers in his career however which may lead to him splitting time with other players on the Yankees roster. Most likely this would be Chris Stewart or Austin Romine, but by benching McCann against lefties the Yankees would open up another problem.
Catchers and pitchers in the big leagues often establish a relationship which leads to personal catchers. McCann would not be able to be a pitcher’s everyday guy if he had to be scratched on the days the Yankees are facing a left handed pitcher.
One thing is for certain, McCann’s left-handed power was what drove this signing. The Yankees are probably starting to feel more and more optimistic about next season now that they have signed this talented hitter.
By Nick Manai