Yanks sign McCann, 5yr/85M, Sox still seeking starting C


Red Sox GM Ben Cherington can scratch McCann off his list to fill his vacancy at Starting catcher–the Yankees signed him.

Brian McCann was snatched today by the AL East rival Yankees; a 5-year deal for $85 Million with a 6th-year vesting option and a full-no-trade clause.

The deal has implications for the Red Sox:

  • One less catcher on the FA market and the best hitter.
  • AL East and Blood rival Yankees upgrade their Catching position for 5 years.
  • The Yankees may not be able to afford Cano.
  • Yanks grab the #4 rated FA in the 2013 pool, behind #1 Robinson Cano [2b], #2 Masahiro Tanaka [SP], #3 Shin‐Soo Choo, OF, and before #5, Jacoby Ellsbury.

These are the FA catchers who remain on Jeff Passan’s 2013 MLB Ultimate Free-Agent Tracker ranked list:

23. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C: Positional value is king, and even though Saltalamacchia is flawed – he wouldn’t have ridden the bench during the World Series were teams incapable of exposing him – he is still a 28-year-old catcher with power. And those aren’t just rare. They’re practically nonexistent.

32. A.J. Pierzynski, C: The only possible thing that could warrant a player with 11 walks in 529 plate appearances ranking this high is his position.

80. Kurt Suzuki, C: A perfectly acceptable everyday catcher, especially for a team with a young pitching staff, the sort of which he nurtured in Oakland and Washington.

83. Dioner Navarro, C: Re-emerged as a worthwhile platoon catcher, carrying strong numbers throughout the season and finishing 11th among catchers with 13 home runs despite just 266 plate appearances.

93. John Buck, C: Archetypal run-into-something catcher who will hit a few home runs, call a good game and frustrate with a brutal strikeout-to-walk ratio.

152. Yorvit Torrealba, C: Welcome to the backup-catcher portion of the program.

153. Kelly Shoppach, C: A few of these guys will get major league deals because the paucity of catching is that significant.

155. Henry Blanco, C: Every Breaking Bad fan’s favorite catcher: Hank White.

156. Humberto Quintero, C: Should have a Tumblr called Humbrt Quntr.

174. Taylor Teagarden, C: Name still sounds more like a restaurant than a ballplayer.

193. Chris Snyder, C: Once received a three-year, $14.25 million contract extension. Which is to say: Baseball, man.

OR, as noted in an earlier post, there is the trade route and Ryan Hanigan of the REDS:

  • Excellent defense and could split game load with Ross, 100-62.
  • Decent batter [.262], who will take the W and not K as much as Salty.
  • Thrifty solution for a year or two, buys time to watch Ryan Lavarnway [26], Christian Vazquez [23], Blake Swihart [21].

While the lists of potential trades for a catcher are nearly limitless, the REDS have indicated that they are willing to trade Hanigan for prospects.


Jeff Passan’s 2013 MLB Ultimate Free-Agent Tracker

Here is the free-agent class of 2013-14, ranked from Nos. 1 to 200. The rankings are based on a number of variables, including each player’s history, age and potential, and are as much about predicted performance as market value, providing a general outline as free agency unfolds between now and spring training.

Bookmark this page in your browser or favorite it on Twitter – and return frequently. As the offseason progresses, Yahoo Sports will update it with news of signings and their impact on the other free agents, as well as a supplementary list of players who are non-tendered by their current teams.

1. Robinson Cano, 2B: Because a certain portion of revenues must go to players, and young players’ salaries are artificially depressed, it means superstar free agents will continue to reap massive money despite the plethora of examples of why paying for aging talent is an awful idea. Cano is the latest example, and even if his $300 million wish is a reach, $200 million-plus is a certainty and more than $250 million certainly is possible. As his agent might say: Money, Cash, Cano.

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2. Masahiro Tanaka, SP: The temptation is to compare him to his countrymen, and in some ways, that is fair. Yu Darvish is the best pitcher ever to come to MLB from Japan, and some believe Tanaka is his equal. No starters throw the split-fingered fastball more frequently than Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroki Kuroda, and that is Tanaka’s bread-and-butter pitch. Just know this: Absent a drastic rule change in the posting system – one that’s extremely unlikely – some team is going to lay out more than $125 million total for Tanaka, and it will dwarf what all other starters get.

3. Shin‐Soo Choo, OF: Among active players with at least 2,000 plate appearances, here are the ones with better on-base percentages than Choo: Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Joe Mauer, Jason Giambi and Miguel Cabrera. That’s five MVPs and a six-time All-Star. Now, OBP isn’t everything. Choo’s aptitude at getting on base, however, separates him from those below him. Move Choo back to his natural right field, stick him at the top of the lineup and watch him pile up runs for the next half-decade.

4. Brian McCann, C: Between power and position, McCann is an intriguing blend of skills. Even better, he’s still just 29 years old. And best yet, whatever team hires him can use him as a law-enforcement consultant.

5. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: In 2011, Ellsbury hit 32 home runs in 660 at-bats. Over his other 2,252 at-bats, he has 33 homers. Ellsbury is going to get his $100 million-plus from someone, no question, and he’s going to play a solid center field and steal a lot of bases at a remarkably efficient clip. But outside of that 2011 season, he has one full year with an OPS+ over 100 (this season, at 114, which was 64th among the 140 who qualified for the batting title) and a skill set that, should it follow his predecessors-in-speed, will slope downward starting, oh, about now, at 30 years old. Maybe Ellsbury is the exception or maybe 2011 wasn’t an outlier. If not, this has disaster written all over it.

6. Carlos Beltran, OF/DH: The smooth transition to full-time DH could start as soon as this year, and it would knock down Beltran a few notches. Still, the bat plays, and it plays extremely well. The fact that he doesn’t want crazy years and stupid money plays in his favor among his peers near the top of the list.

7. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP: If we did this list in May, Jimenez would’ve been, oh, about 10 times as low. He looked completely lost, with an ERA hovering around 6.00. From June 1 on, only five starters had a better ERA than him. After the All-Star break, it was one: Clayton Kershaw. We’ve seen this vanish in the past, which is why Jimenez isn’t among the top couple names on this list. Should his delivery stay intact, whatever he signs for will be a bargain.

8. Hiroki Kuroda, SP: Wherever Kuroda ends up – New York, Los Angeles or back in Japan – he’ll generate a significant amount of groundballs. And if it’s in the U.S., it’ll be on a one-year deal, for which this axiom rings true: There is no such thing as a bad one-year deal. Short-term risk in baseball is negligible, even if it’s for a pitcher coming off a second half with a 4.25 ERA.

9. Mike Napoli, 1B: One executive warned this was too high for Napoli. He’s scared off by the strikeouts, 187 in fewer than 500 at-bats, and it’s a valid concern. Same with this: He’s a consistent 20- to 25-homer guy, not some right-handed leviathan. Except there is such a paucity of right-handed power, and Napoli proved himself so adept at first base, the market for him will be huge. Because he won a championship with Boston, he will get overpaid even more.

10. Ervin Santana, SP: The disaster for players that is the qualifying offer shouldn’t hurt Santana’s market too much, though to make it worth a team’s while that means offering a contract of three-plus years to a pitcher who never has had three consecutive good years. Four years is almost a given, five a possibility and $75 million not at all far-fetched.

Jeff Passan on Yahoo Sports]