Yanks flash cash: McCann, Ellsbury just the start
Brian McCann arrived at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 19 and was
greeted on the field by CC Sabathia and the pitcher’s kids.
McCann toured the opulent clubhouse, then went to a hotel room
arranged by the team at the $695-and-up Mandarin Oriental
overlooking Central Park. McCann merely had to take an elevator
downstairs for a dinner with manager Joe Girardi and three other
team executives at Porter House New York, a sleek steak restaurant
in the Time Warner Center, filled with cherry wood floors and
Four days later, he had a deal for an $85 million, five-year
contract, the start of a new spending spree by the Yankees that
also includes a pending $153 million, seven-year agreement with
outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
”When the Yankees call you and then you go through the process
that I went through, you leave blown away,” McCann said Thursday
during a news conference at his new home ballpark. ”There’s a
reason that they’re the New York Yankees. You walk in here,
everything’s bigger. They put attention to detail with everything.
They make you feel the way that you want to feel.”
”It was,” he added, ”a perfect fit.”
While the Yankees are adding players, they appear less likely to
re-sign Robinson Cano. New York believes it may be outbid by the
Seattle Mariners for the All-Star second baseman, who at first
sought a 10-year deal for more than $300 million.
”We’re still talking, but obviously we’re a decent distance
apart,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner
General manager Brian Cashman met last month with Jay Z, going
to the office of the rap mogul who is one of Cano’s agents.
”Our club has negotiated very hard with Robinson Cano and has
made fair offers to Robinson Cano,” Girardi said.
Himself a former Yankees catcher, Girardi was excited about
upgrading with McCann, a seven-time All-Star who joins a lineage
that includes Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman
Munson and Jorge Posada.
”We think we have the next great Yankee catcher here with us,”
Cashman went further, calling McCann ”a potential Hall of
New York was 16th in the major leagues with 650 runs this year,
its lowest ranking since 1991, according to STATS. McCann and
Ellsbury, who hope to benefit from Yankee Stadium’s short porch in
right field, appear to be just the start of an upgrade.
Ellsbury and Brett Gardner should help form a superior defensive
”These guys are going to cover a lot of ground,” Girardi said.
”They both can put a lot of pressure on a pitcher when they’re on
the basepaths, and their ability to go from first to third or first
to home on a number of base hits.”
Assuming Ellsbury’s deal gets finalized, New York’s luxury tax
payroll will be about $138 million – starting to approach the
roughly $177 million for salaries under next year’s $189 million
tax threshold. The Yankees hope to get under the threshold – but
that appears unlikely unless Alex Rodriguez is suspended for most
or all of next season – eliminating his $25 million salary.
”I think we can do it, but it’s not going to come at the
expense of fielding a good team,” Steinbrenner said. ”Right now
we’re still under it. Right now, we’ve still got a decent amount of
money to spend, quite frankly. And we’re going to. We’re going to
put it back into the team the way we always do.”
Cashman said he thinks pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who turns 39 in
February, wants to return for a third season with the Yankees.
Their rotation is uncertain behind Sabathia and Ivan Nova, and New
York is interested in Masahiro Tanaka if he is made available by
his Japanese club under a new posting system. And while Girardi
says David Robertson is the favorite to take over as closer from
Mariano Rivera, the Yankees need more relievers.
”We’re not done with pitching, one way or the other. That’s for
sure,” Steinbrenner said. ”And we need another bat or two.”
McCann said the Yankees made him feel extremely wanted during
his quick tour last month, and the dinner stretched on for three
hours. Girardi and the 29-year-old catcher were joined by team
President Randy Levine, Cashman, assistant general manager Billy
Eppler and B.B. Abbott, the catcher’s agent.
McCann beamed during the news conference as wife Ashley looked
on along with their two young children and other relatives.
McCann wore No. 16 with the Braves, but that number has been
retired by the Yankees in honor of Whitey Ford. McCann is switching
to No. 34 because it was used by friends Eric O’Flaherty and Derek
Lowe on the Braves.
Cashman presented No. 34 onesies jerseys for son Colt, born in
July 2012, and daughter Colbie, born in September.
”There’s a lot of numbers retired here. It’s slim pickings,”
McCann said. ”I only had like four, five to choose from.”