McCann and what's next for the Yanks

November, 24, 2013
11/24/13
11:00
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The Yankees have executed the first phase of their offseason plan by agreeing with Brian McCann on an $85M contract, pending a physical.

So let's look at all the implications of the deal.

WHAT'S NEXT: The next two bats the Yankees want to sign are Robinson Cano and Carlos Beltran. They would rather do it sooner than later, but it takes two to tango.

A source told ESPN New York that Cano's representatives and the Yankees could meet before Thanksgiving. The Yankees remain the favorites to keep him. Meanwhile the Yankees are pressing hard on Beltran, whom they like the best of the outfield choices.

Still, they also have their eyes on Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury. They have kept in contact with Curtis Granderson. They will only sign one of the outfielders.

The Yankees are also still engaged with Hiroki Kuroda. If he comes back, they feel they will only need one more starter. They will be big players for Masahiro Tanaka, if he is posted.

The fifth spot will be a spring-training competition between Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno and others.

THE MONEY: As we have said around here for awhile, the Yankees have the money to get under $189M and go on a shopping spree. Right now, they have eight players (Alex Rodriguez ($25M), CC Sabathia ($23M), Mark Teixeira ($22.5M), Vernon Wells ($21M), Alfonso Soriano ($18M), Derek Jeter ($12M), Ichiro Suzuki ($6.5M) and McCann ($17M) signed for next year.

Forgetting A-Rod (who for luxury tax purposes must be budgeted for $33M because of his $6M/660 home run bonus plus tax implications) Wells and Soriano will barely cost anything because the Angels and Cubs are picking up most of their salaries.

The Yankees also have arbitration-eligible players that they have control over: Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Shawn Kelley and Ivan Nova.

Because we don't know exactly how much money the players will receive in arbitration it is hard to precisely say how much money the Yankees have left to spend and still remain under their $189M goal.

But in their internal projections, the Yankees know that after signing McCann to the $85M deal they can still sign Cano for $180M-$200M and have money left for Beltran and possibly Tanaka if A-Rod's money comes off the books.

POTENTIAL LINEUP: What if the Yankees sign Cano and Beltran and Eric Chavez, what would you think of this lineup:

1. Gardner, CF
2. Jeter, DH
3. Cano, 2B
4. Beltran, RF
5. Teixeira, 1B
6. McCann, C
7. Soriano, LF
8. Chavez, 3B
9. Brendan Ryan, SS

It is not a bad look. The Yankees have interest in Stephen Drew and Jhonny Peralta. However, it looks like Peralta may already be off the market and Drew passed on the Yankees for less money because he wants to play short. I don't see why he would change his mind with Jeter back for this year.

BETTER POWER/SLIGHTLY WORSE D The Yankees' catchers hit just eight homers in 2013. McCann, if he remains healthy, will hit a lot more than that. Keith Law has more (Insider):

They played a variety of offensive ciphers at the position in 2013, getting just 0.9 WAR (per FanGraphs) in total from the four players who took at-bats for them as catchers, although Chris Stewart, their primary receiver, added significant value as one of the best pitch-framing catchers in baseball.

McCann is an above-average framer as well, so what the Yanks lost on defense will be more than covered by the boost in McCann's offense, especially if the left-handed pull hitter takes advantage of Yankee Stadium's hilariously short right-field porch. Sixteen of his 20 homers in 2013 were to dead right field, as were 15 of his 20 bombs in 2012. He has a patient approach, solid recognition of off-speed stuff and good hip rotation for power, hitting 20 to 24 homers in each of the past six seasons.



CATCHING PROSPECTS: The Yankees have not given up on their catching prospects, but if they develop they could become important trade pieces. The Yankees could not turn to Gary Sanchez (Double-A in 2013), Austin Romine (MLB backup in 2013), Francisco Cervelli (coming off drug suspension) or J.R. Murphy (mostly Triple-A in 2013) and expect much of an upgrade for 2014.

Sanchez, soon to be 21, is not ready yet. He has the highest ceiling and, by the time he could be Bronx-bound, McCann could be ready to move to first. In 2016, you could see Sanchez as the backup and then the starter in 2017. It could work out nicely.

Meanwhile Chris Stewart is expected to be non-tendered and will not be back.

FIRST BASE: At the back-end of the five- or six-year McCann deal, McCann could move to first. Teixeira has three more seasons left on his contract so there might be a natural transition. But the Yankees have shown with their big free agent signings that they will worry about three years from now in three years.

ATTITUDE: The guys brings a certain temperament to the ballpark. Dave Schoenfield writes:

He brings a quiet, fiery leadership that the Yankees could use right now. With Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte retired and Derek Jeter soon to join them, it's time for a new generation of players to take over the top step of the dugout. The Rivera-Pettitte-Jeter way of doing things -- sort of a bland style of professionalism -- worked for many years, but McCann's in-your-face, play-the-game-the-right-way attitude brings a new type of energy to the club.

QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU WANT THE YANKEES TO DO NEXT?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146