Free Agent Forecast: Brian McCann
With how physically demanding it is to be a catcher, it's rare nowadays to see consistency from the position. But for the past eight years, the fans in Atlanta have gotten a rare glimpse at it with Brian McCann.
McCann is without a doubt one of the best offensive catchers in baseball. He's hit 18 or more home runs for the last eight seasons, and has a respectable career batting average of .277. A seven-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, McCann is remarkably only 29-years-old. And although he's originally from Georgia and has played with Atlanta for the entirety of his career, it seems as if his days as a Brave are over.
The only SLIGHT issue with McCann's game is his ability to throw out base runners, a skill that he is below average at. The Major League average throughout his career has been catching around 27% of runners, and McCann hovers around 24%. Other than that, McCann is very solid behind the plate, and is known as an excellent game caller and leader.
The Yankees are reportedly "moving fast" in an attempt to sign McCann, who is in high demand all over the league. The Yankees struggled offensively at the catcher position last season and would be significantly upgrading with McCann in the productivity department. What helps McCann -- and might hurt the Yankees -- is that Carlos Ruiz (who is 4 years older than McCann) just got a three-year, $26-million deal from the Phillies. He's going to be looking for as much security and money as possible and he's going to get significantly more of both than Ruiz did. Regardless, McCann and his agent have said that his main goal is to go somewhere competitive. If he's high on the Yankees list, I don't see why the two sides wouldn't matchup somehow.
It's very possible that Brian Cashman is kicking himself over letting Russell Martin go after the 2012 season, and signing Brian McCann would certainly get the bad taste out of his mouth. It will cost the team a draft pick, but it would solidify a position that was a gaping hole in the Yankees' offense last season. And remember, McCann doesn't even turn 30 until February. He's still in his prime, and could give the Yankees their best offensive backstop since Jorge Posada.
Given the Yankees' aggressive interest AND Ruiz's big payday, I think McCann will sign a deal somewhere in the six-year, $105-million range.