Thursday, October 17, 2013
So while the Yankees have many pressing needs, they are no closer to finding answers for 2014.
One of those answers could be Braves catcher Brian McCann, who is set to become a free agent. The Yankees’ lack of power was an issue throughout the season and the absence of offensive production from behind the plate was particularly damaging.
McCann, who will turn 30 in February, would help in both areas, but he might be too expensive to end up in the Bronx. He has hit at least 20 homers in each of the past six seasons and was selected to his seventh All-Star Game last year.
Let’s see how CAIRO projects McCann as a Yankee in 2014.
The Yankees got about 0.5 WAR out of catcher in 2013. So McCann plus a good backup could be a 3-4 win upgrade. McCann’s missed a fair amount of time over the last two years which is why CAIRO has him around 497 PA but if he can get to 550 or so he’d be worth about 3.6 WAR offensively.
This doesn’t include defense, but McCann’s been a hair below average over the last two seasons so it shouldn’t affect his value much.
Unfortunately, you can’t sign McCann for just 2014, so here’s how he projects over the next four seasons.
That totals up to about 13 WAR. Maybe subtract one from that assuming a slow decline in defense over four seasons. So a fair deal over four seasons is probably in the $60M-$70M range. If you get him for 3 years he’s probably worth about 10 WAR and something like $50M would be fair.
McCann doesn’t come without risk, considering he had shoulder surgery prior to the season and although he’s only 30 he’s more likely to decline than maintain at this point. But he’d be a big upgrade for the Yankees. Unfortunately, he’d be a big upgrade for roughly 25 other teams as he trails only Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer and Yadier Molina in CAIRO’s projected offensive WAR (among catchers). So it may be difficult to sign him to a contract that makes sense. He’s also almost certain to cost a draft pick since I can’t see the Braves not extending him a qualifying offer.
If the Yankees do pursue McCann, it helps, but it’s not enough by itself to turn them into contenders. Especially if they sign him while still trying to get their payroll under $189M.
Incidentally, I found a pretty major issue with the Yankee CAIRO projections I posted on Tuesday. The good news is it means that all the pitcher projections were overly pessimistic. The bad news is it means the offensive projections were optimistic. It doesn’t change the big picture all that much, just the shape of it.
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