The Yankees should trade Brian McCann, but should feel no pressure to do so

Likely the Yankees biggest storyline to monitor early in the offseason is what they are going to do with Brian McCann. With Gary Sanchez bursting onto the scene in 2016, Brian Cashman has already dubbed Sanchez as the Yankees’ starting catcher on opening day in 2017. He did say that McCann would see one or two starts behind the dish, as well as being the primary designated hitter, barring any free agent signings. Although the Yankees are probably best-suited in trading McCann, the team should be reassured that they cannot go wrong with whether they trade him or not.
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Despite turning 33-years-old before opening day in 2017, Brian McCann is still a top-10 catcher in the major leagues. The way he can command a pitching staff and call a game behind the plate is unmatched by nearly any other catcher in the league. His blocking and ability to throw runners out is declining, but his baseball IQ continue to improve with age and experience. On the offensive side, his stick may be declining as well, as he hasn’t made an All-Star appearance in pinstripes. But just one year removed from a silver slugger award in 2015, McCann still possesses a powerful left-handed bat that many MLB teams would value. Point being, McCann has no business being a backup, and his service would be of value to quite a few major league teams.

The Houston Astros have become a team that may be at the forefront in the Brian McCann sweepstakes. Additionally, the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Washington Nationals have expressed their interest in the Yankee catcher. All teams mentioned aside from the Royals show a pressing need at catcher, so it is likely that they would be willing to go the extra mile that the Yankees demand in order to acquire McCann.

McCann is owed $34 million over the final two years of his contract, and the Yankees are reportedly willing to pay at least half of that in order to move him. That would make McCann between an eight and $9-million catcher – an extreme bargain for a catcher with his experience and ability. In eating half of his contract, the Yankees were reportedly demanding multiple top prospects for McCann’s services. A later report claimed the Yankees specifically wanted a “super” prospect, and that prospect would preferably be a pitcher.

Although the Yankees hold leverage on Brian McCann with other teams, McCann, too, holds leverage of his own on the Yankees. With a full no-trade clause in his contract, McCann would have to approve any trade deal, which I would imagine the Yankees feel confident in him doing if he is traded.

If the Yankees were to trade McCann, it would allow them to look to the free agent market to sign a big bat such as an Edwin Encarnacion, or Mark Trumbo to become the primary designated hitter. But if the Yankees were to hold onto McCann, they would be keeping a bonafide clubhouse leader, and a good middle of the order bat. So in short, the Yankees need to sit back and wait to become overwhelmed, as opposed to jumping at the first offer they receive. I expect Brian Cashman to weigh his options when it comes to the Yankee veteran catcher.

Should the Yankees hold onto Brian McCann, or trade him? Let us know in the comments.

Article by: Chad Raines
Follow me on twitter @Chad_Rain
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