2:52pm: Unsurprisingly, there are numerous obstacles to any deal, particularly with the Braves, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). In particular, Atlanta isn’t keen to take over the entire remaining salary, while New York not only doesn’t wish to hold onto financial obligations but also wants “real prospects” in a swap.
As David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes on Twitter, the Braves should be able to land a catcher via free agency at that kind of salary (or, quite likely, less) given the relative abundance of players at the position hitting the market. The team would not only stand to find a younger player, albeit on a longer commitment, but wouldn’t have to give up prospects to get it done.
12:30pm: The Yankees are talking with other clubs about catcher Brian McCann, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. Jonathan Lucroy and Derek Norris have garnered the lion’s share of the rumors of late, but it seems that New York at least wants to know what kind of trade interest the market holds for its own veteran receiver.
While it’s far from likely that any deal will get done, McCann is available because the Yanks feel good about their options behind him, Heyman explains. Current reserve Austin Romine may be deserving of a longer look, and top prospect Gary Sanchez has shown plenty of bat against Triple-A pitching.
The Yankees are surely also curious whether it would be possible to get out from under some of McCann’s remaining contract. He’s owed $17MM a year through 2018, which is right at the top of the market for catching salaries. Still, MLBTR’s Steve Adams included him among the potentially-available trade candidates behind the dish. McCann does have a no-trade clause, it’s also important to note.
Trouble is, McCann hasn’t played quite at his former levels since coming to New York. He has still produced at a league-average rate with the bat, carrying a .233/.310/.423 batting line with better than twenty long balls per year, but that’s not what the Yankees thought they were signing up for three years ago. After all, the former Braves stalwart owned a .277/.350/.473 slash over his nine years in Atlanta.
Now 32, McCann is also not as celebrated behind the plate as he once was. Certainly, the $34MM left on the deal after this season looks rather steep. But that doesn’t mean the Yankees aren’t fielding interest. Per Heyman, via Twitter, it is “believed” that both the Braves and Rangers have chatted with the Yankees about a possible move for McCann.
Atlanta is looking for a solution behind the dish, and while it surely won’t give up much to add the veteran, it’s easy to see the connection given his roots with the Braves and the desire to drum up interest with a new ballpark on the horizon. Texas would represent a more typical buyer, but may not be a perfect fit given the organization’s reportedly-limited financial flexibility — unless the sides were able to work out some form of salary swap. McCann’s left-handed bat would surely be of interest, and he’d form an interesting combination with Robinson Chirinos.
At this point, though, it’s certainly all hypothetical, as we haven’t seen any reason to suggest that there’s any momentum toward a deal.