The Yankees entered this offseason with more holes than the finest Jarlsberg cheese.
- The Yankees know that they will be without Alex Rodriguez for at least part of the season, and hope for all of the season in order to clear $25 million to spend. But as of now they don’t have a third baseman.
- The Yankees are uncertain, but hopeful, as to Derek Jeter‘s status at short and have signed the good fielding Brendan Ryan as his backup.
- The Yankees are optimistic, but not certain, that they will be able re-sign Robinson Cano to be their franchise second baseman and lineup anchor.
- The Yankees are relatively certain that Mark Teixeira will be back at first and they hope that his repaired wrist will quickly regain its power.
That was just the infield.
- The Yankees have lost Andy Pettitte to retirement and have pretty much said goodbye to Phil Hughes and are uncertain about the return of Hiroki Kuroda, leaving holes in the starting rotation.
- The Yankees have lost Mariano Rivera to retirement and have pretty much said goodbye to Joba Chamberlain, leaving holes in the bullpen.
That was just the pitching.
That’s just scratching the obvious surface and doesn’t address the lack of depth anywhere on the team.
But the one giant hole that needed to be filled, has been filled.
The Yankees have added the high-character, strong leadership, homer hitting, good fielding catcher Brian McCann.
The Yankees and McCann agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with a vesting option for a sixth year, and a no-trade clause.
While the deal is the largest average annual value contract ever given to a free agent catcher, a high quality catcher very rarely reaches free agency.
McCann is a HUGE upgrade for the Yankees behind the plate
The Yankee catching corp weren’t just deficient last season, they were the weakest hitting group in the majors, with the fewest homers..
|1. Atlanta Braves||597||149||27||59||118||94||.250||.325||.436|
|2. Texas Rangers||618||160||23||32||130||85||.259||.301||.424|
|3. Houston Astros||596||153||23||55||172||68||.257||.326||.440|
|4. Baltimore Orioles||589||137||23||47||123||84||.233||.284||.404|
|5. Toronto Blue Jays||598||116||22||30||169||61||.194||.235||.348|
|6. New York Mets||593||130||22||51||160||84||.219||.288||.366|
|7. Minnesota Twins||620||187||22||82||140||76||.302||.382||.477|
|8. Mil Brewers||603||156||22||52||103||89||.259||.321||.428|
|9. Cleveland Indians||568||154||22||70||120||74||.271||.357||.467|
|10. Pittsburgh Pirates||595||137||20||62||141||72||.230||.312||.378|
|11. Wash Nationals||581||139||19||37||80||83||.239||.286||.375|
|12. Colorado Rockies||623||164||19||28||133||90||.263||.295||.404|
|13. Chicago Cubs||583||164||19||52||120||61||.281||.353||.425|
|14. Boston Red Sox||589||159||19||55||192||89||.270||.334||.453|
|15. KC Royals||607||164||18||42||107||87||.270||.321||.422|
|16. Seattle Mariners||563||110||16||49||153||53||.195||.266||.313|
|17. Phil Phillies||571||140||16||37||101||71||.245||.300||.375|
|18. LA Dodgers||580||137||16||59||135||73||.236||.306||.367|
|19. LA Angels||524||124||16||81||150||55||.237||.341||.385|
|20. Detroit Tigers||580||152||16||54||138||73||.262||.326||.395|
|21. Chi White Sox||550||108||16||26||162||58||.196||.238||.325|
|22. SF Giants||611||163||14||63||101||76||.267||.339||.398|
|23. San Diego Padres||559||128||14||51||141||58||.229||.297||.360|
|24. Oakland Athletics||552||147||14||69||125||63||.266||.351||.408|
|25. St. L Cardinals||633||182||12||34||79||89||.288||.328||.423|
|26. Arizona D-backs||622||154||12||58||142||62||.248||.313||.347|
|27. Cincinnati Reds||561||124||10||58||91||66||.221||.298||.317|
|28. Tampa Bay Rays||546||134||9||51||123||49||.245||.310||.355|
|29. Miami Marlins||572||111||9||40||164||51||.194||.249||.280|
|30. New York Yankees||497||106||8||47||101||43||.213||.289||.298|
Who were those 2013 Yankee catchers?
|New York Yankees||566||497||106||18||8||47||101||43||.213||.289||.298|
The Yankee problems behind the plate are not new
For those members of Yankee Universe who bemoan the loss of Russell Martin behind plate after the 2012 season, you are indulging in revisionist history.
|Jesus Montero (NYY)||13||10||3||1||0||3||4||2||.300||.462||.400|
|Francisco Cervelli (NYY)||608||528||146||22||8||52||87||79||.277||.348||.375|
|Jorge Posada (NYY)||709||614||168||42||33||83||150||115||.274||.364||.507|
|Kevin Cash (NYY)||28||26||6||2||0||0||5||3||.231||.250||.308|
|Russell Martin (NYY)||933||814||184||34||39||100||166||116||.226||.319||.412|
|Chris Stewart (NYY)||490||428||94||13||5||40||68||37||.220||.293||.285|
|Chad Moeller (NYY)||15||14||3||3||0||1||4||0||.214||.267||.429|
|Jose Molina (NYY)||147||131||27||4||1||13||25||11||.206||.281||.260|
|Austin Romine (NYY)||162||149||30||9||1||8||39||10||.201||.245||.282|
|Gustavo Molina (NYY)||6||6||1||1||0||0||0||0||.167||.167||.333|
|JR Murphy (NYY)||25||24||3||1||0||1||9||1||.125||.160||.167|
Enter Brian McCann
Here’s a look at all the Yankee catchers from 2009-13 combined versus Brian McCann during that same period
Yes, I’m aware, and the Yankees are well aware, that McCann’s numbers have declined, but not enough to not make this an outstanding deal in part because he’s had six straight 20+ homer seasons and that’s before he started aiming for the right-field porch of Yankee Stadium.
And I’m not even going to address his defensive skills in this article which is another positive for this 11-time All-Star.
The McCann Intangible
After confronting Carlos Gomez last September, Richard Justice wrote for MLB.com, “Brian McCann is the heart and soul of the Atlanta Braves. So on Wednesday night, he did what great leaders almost always do. McCann stood up for his pitcher, and he stood up for his team.”
Back in 2011, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times quoted the Braves coach Eddie Perez who preceded McCann as a catcher for the Braves, “When something happens on the team he’s the first one to try to help,” Perez said at spring training last week. “I saw him talk to some of the minor leaguers when we had the rookie camp before we came here, and that was the best speech I’ve ever heard from any player talking to young kids — and he’s still young. He was right on it, telling true stories about what happened to him to make him be a better player, and all the hard work. The kids were amazed listening to him.
“To me he’s our leader, he’s our No. 1 guy, because he cares. He’s there every day playing hard, trying to win.”
“I’d like to say it’s Brian McCann,” Jones said. “He’s going to solely be the face of this franchise starting next year. He’s a great kid. He’s a great player. He’s the kind of guy you’d want to build a ballclub around.”
Since 1980, the first full season following the death of Thurman Munson, the Yankees have had 38 guys behind the plate led by these five:
As the Core Four of Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter is down to one, the Yankee clubhouse, like the Braves clubhouse when Jones retired, will end up turning their eyes toward Brian McCann.
He’s the right man at the right time for a team that really needs him.