If the New York Yankees decide to move catcher Brian McCann this winter, one club that could be in the mix is the Houston Astros.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines that one potential overlooked suitor for New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann this winter is the Houston Astros. Sherman cites the departure of the ‘Stros impending free agent catcher Jason Castro as one potential reason for their interest, and also notes that their lineup is heavily righthanded and would be greatly improved by the addition of a lefty power bat.
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The core of Houston’s offense is currently centered around righties Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Spring. Castro was one of the few lefties they had to balance things out, and it isn’t clear whether the club has interest in retaining him.
It’s far from a sure thing that the Yankees will trade McCann this winter. It’s certainly not a bad thing to have two starting-caliber catchers on the roster, and McCann has been vocal about his desire to stay in New York even after losing his job as the team’s primary backstop. He’s one of the most well-respected leaders on the team, and there are few players in the league who would be more valuable as a mentor to rookie catcher Gary Sanchez.
Still, if New York did make McCann available this offseason, there would likely be considerable interest in acquiring him. Sherman spoke to one MLB executive who felt that two-thirds of the league could use an upgrade behind the plate.
McCann is no longer a superstar, but he’s a solid defensive catcher who has launched 20 home runs or more for nine consecutive seasons. He is still a league average bat, hitting .242/.335/.413 (99 OPS+) in 492 plate appearances in 2016, which makes him well-above-average for a catcher.
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There have been a wide range of estimates about what McCann would actually be worth on the trade market this offseason. Some analysts think that the Yankees would have to eat half his contract to get even a decent prospect or two in return, while New York reportedly asked for two potential young stars (Ender Inciarte and Mike Foltynewicz) in return from the Atlanta Braves at the deadline.
As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of those two estimations. It’s hard to imagine the Yankees moving McCann unless they get at least one impact talent in return because of how much value he brings to their roster. They can always just keep him if no one blows them away.