New York Yankees veteran catcher Brian McCann is rumored to be on the way out this offseason and the Houston Astros reportedly have interest.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported Wednesday that the New York Yankees have found a new potential trade partner with interest in dealing for Brian McCann. Shortly after, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports revealed that the Houston Astros are confirmed to have interest, all though it isn’t 100% clear that the ‘Stros are the club that Feinsand was referring to.
There were several reports at the August 1st non-waiver trade deadline that the Yankees were interested in moving McCann, and had extended discussions with his old club the Atlanta Braves, but ultimately no deal was reached. With the emergence of rookie sensation Gary Sanchez in August, McCann lost his job as the team’s starting catcher, leading many analysts to think he could be dealt this offseason.
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After Yankees GM Brian Cashman officially named Sanchez the starting catcher for 2017, it became clear McCann’s role on the team wouldn’t be the same when he signed his five-year, $85 million contract prior to the 2014 season. He would likely be moved primarily to designated hitter and backup catcher. It’s worth nothing McCann’s contract does include a no-trade clause, so he would have veto power over any deal.
The Astros currently have a void at catcher as free agent Jason Castro is expected to sign elsewhere, leaving Evan Gattis and Max Stassi as the only two catchers on the active roster.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Houston could even be interested in expanding the deal to include left fielder Brett Gardner, who the team has been trying to move since last winter. That would clear roughly $60 million off of New York’s payroll over the next two years, which would be a huge boon for their efforts to get under the luxury tax threshold.
We’ve also heard from Brian Cashman that the team might consider making a run at one of the top available free agent bats if they clear some payroll first. A move involving Gardner and McCann for young talent would certainly do that.
So what would a package of Gardner and McCann bring back in return? The Yankees are said to be in the market for young, controllable starting pitching, and Houston have a number of guys who could fit the bill.
One pitcher who jumps out is 22-year-old David Paulino, who got his first taste of the big leagues this year after pitching to a 2.00 ERA in 90 minor league innings, striking out 29.4% of the batters he faced. MLB Pipeline currently has him fourth in Houston’s system and number 70 overall on their Top 100 list.
If the Yankees and Astros are unable to consummate a deal, there are a number of teams who need help behind the dish including the Braves, the Washington Nationals, and the New York Mets although trades between the inter-city rivals are rare.