Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's time we talked about Brian McCann.

Over the last two years, Brian McCann has been, by far, the scariest Yankee. He's big, burly - built like one of those evil movie bad guys who somehow still gets beaten up by Tom Cruise. Can you imagine how terrifying McCann would be in clown makeup? Jeez, if Stephen King ever does a remake of "IT," this guy can play Pennywise. Jeeeeez, I'm getting creeped out, just thinking about it.

It's those eyes. McCann is ferocious. When the Yankees signed him three winters ago, they compared him to Thurman Munson, which is one hell of a thing to say about any incoming Yankee. But we all knew why: That moment with Atlanta, when he refused to let Carlos Gomez touch home plate after dissing a Brave pitcher - still one of the greatest baseball YouTubes ever. This was the guy we compared to Thurm. Goddamm!

Moral of the story: Whatever we do, we must first and foremost treat Brian McCann with dignity, respect, courtesy, gratitude - all those things gone in Presidential politics -  otherwise, he'll disappear into a sewer grate and haunt us for generations.

And while we're here, let's dispel the notion that McCann's career was tanked by defensive over-shifts. (That's Mark Teixeira.) McCann gave opposite fields a try. Every now and then, he'd check his swing and slap a grounder into the left field corner and find himself laughing his ass off at second base. Trouble is, he didn't do it often enough to break the over-shift.

To the right are his stats for the last five years - games, at bats, HRs, RBIs and average. Note the consistency. In fact, he practically had the same season this year than in his final two in Atlanta. He always hits about 20 HRs. He always drives in about 60 runs. He always hits what he always hits.

But these are not the numbers you want from your 1B or DH. These are not the stats you want from a guy hitting 3rd, 4th or 5th. On a really good team, these are the stats of your seventh man. And here's the rub: Next year, at age 33 and relegated to backing up Gary Sanchez, McCann's stats will surely decline.

Contractually, we have him for two years, both at $17 million, plus an option for a third. Seventeen million is a hell of a lot to spend on a backup catcher, and 58 RBIs is just not enough from your DH.

Meanwhile, Austin Romine, who will be 28 this year, also hit .242 - with 4 HRs, 26 RBIs in 165 at bats. If Romine played the entire season, the only difference would be fewer home runs, and who knows - maybe the power will come. (There is one other difference - Romine bats RH, same as Sanchez, so we lose the platoon part.)

There's no other way. It's time to trade McCann.

If we don't, we will be shopping him next winter, age 34, when his numbers are even less appealing. I have no idea what we can get for him. But it has to be more than for dealing Romine or going with three catchers, and also parking in Scranton forever the extremely intriguing prospect Kyle Higashioka - who blossomed at age 25 this year. They say Higashioka changed his swing and hit 21 HRs - and .276 - at Scranton and Trenton. He has long been touted as the best defensive catcher in the Yankee farm system. We can't let him rot in Triple A.

It's simple: We either trade the young guys or the old guy.

I have no idea what we can get for McCann. Once, we traded Francisco Cervelli for Justin Wilson, who was then converted into Luis Cessa and Chad Green - a deal hailed by the YES men throughout the second half of 2016. McCann is better than Cervelli was at the time of the trade. (Cervelli, now 30, is a very popular Pirate; he hit .265 last year with 1 HR, but suffered injuries - the bugaboo he always faced with the Yankees.) 

We certainly cannot give McCann away. But if we keep him, next year, right around now, we will be facing the same dilemma: What do you do with a $17 million backup catcher? That's a thought almost as horrific as a clown staring up from a sewer grate.


Anonymous said...

There will be a new "It" film next year. They just finished filming the first film (the past) last month and Bill SkarsgÄrd (a scranny looking guy) is playing Pennywise. Basically he comes off looking a creepy clown in a Shakespeare type outfit if the press photos are correct. McCann probably would have been a better choice though!

John M said...

McCann seems like a nice guy and he's a great pitch framer.

Trade him.