The Yankees will probably be the Yankees again this year.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are set to sign free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal. The deal contains a vesting option that could push it to six years and $100 million. The other major suitor for McCann was the Rangers, and it’s fair to wonder whether the addition of expensive lefty pop in the form of Prince Fielder changed their thinking on McCann. (They’ll still likely add a bat, though.) McCann reportedly gets a full no-trade clause, and he costs the Yankees their first rounder to sign.
The Cubs were rumored to be in on top catchers for about ten seconds at the outset of the offseason, but those rumors never made much sense, and I generally poo’d on them when given the chance. McCann, for all his strengths, is a soon-to-be 30-year-old catcher who has played in just 223 games over the last two years. His numbers – still great for a catcher – are clearly trending downward. The deal is not outrageous in this market, but it would have been shock for any NL team to commit five years to McCann, let alone the Cubs. It was pretty much a lock that McCann was going to the AL, where he can occasionally DH (more as he gets older). As always, the AL has an unfair advantage.
McCann’s signing impacts the Yankees’ offseason plan a bit, given that, unless Alex Rodriguez is definitely suspended, the Yankees are running out of room under the $189 million luxury tax cap for maneuvering. They’ve still got a rotation spot or two to fill, they’ve got to save space to try and land Masahiro Tanaka, and they might still want to try and re-sign Robinson Cano. Without an ARod suspension, that can’t all happen. Maybe they know something we don’t.
I imagine the financial implications for the Yankees – and, thus, the implications for the rest of the market – will play out over the next few days.