The New York Yankees have made their first major move of this offseason, and that was finding their much-needed catcher.
The Yankees came into the offseason with one goal in mind: to go on a shopping spree that would prevent them from missing the playoffs again as they did this past season for only the second time in almost 20 years. New York’s other goal was to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
The first priority was to figure out what to do with their main free agent, second baseman Robinson Cano, and their second priority was to figure out what to do with the whole Alex Rodriguez saga.
Before they missed a chance to act on their other priorities as they wait on Cano and the results of the Rodriguez hearing, the Yankees filled a hole that was one of their biggest weaknesses this past season.
After failing to retain catcher Russell Martin and letting him sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees went with Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine behind the plate.
Cervelli was sent to the DL before being suspended for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal, so Stewart and Romine carried most of the weight but didn’t provide much pop on offense.
Enter catcher Brian McCann. The 29-year-old and the Yankees have agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract that includes a vesting option for a sixth year that can push the total to $100.
The Yankees made McCann one of their main targets this winter and outbid the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox for his services. The deal is pending a physical but the Yankees were very aggressive in the talks with him as he is seen as the first phase in their shopping spree.
McCann hit .257 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs for the Atlanta Braves last season and is a career .270, 20 homer and 75 RBI guy. The short porch in right field figures to increase the power numbers for McCann.
The seven-time All-Star should figure to catch for the first few years of his contract while catching prospect Gary Sanchez makes his way to the majors and then can move to DH or even some first base a la Joe Mauer in Minnesota.
The Yankees can now turn their attention to their next target which figures to be an outfielder, most likely Carlos Beltran. Beltran would be a preference for the Yankees as he figures to receive a shorter term contract as opposed to Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, but both of them are also options.
For now, cross this one off their checklist as they try to make their way back into the promised land.
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