The man who the New York Yankees paid $85 million to play catcher might be playing more first base than ever intended.
With injuries to numerous Yankees, including Kelly Johnson and Mark Teixeira, the Bombers have had trouble filling in the lineup at the not-so-hot corner. Even Brendan Ryan played first! Now, it is Brian McCann‘s turn to play first base roulette, as he has started to play first in consecutive games. Yesterday, the lefty batter- righty fielder started again in Mark Teixeira’s stead, hitting two singles in the process. Francisco Cervelli has played behind home plate.
For those wondering if McCann would continue in a Joe Mauer or Mike Napoli split between catcher and first, the move looks to be temporary, and fortunately there have been no reported injuries involving McCann.
Nevertheless, the Yankees might also try to trade for a power-hitting player to play that position, because the front office will always try to pull off big trades whether it would be a good idea or not. Earlier this week, the team traded Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher Rafael De Paula for veteran Chase Headley in a third base shakeup. The Yankees might pull a 2008 and sign a Richie Sexson (remember this slugger?) type player before the trade deadline, in an attempt to make a furious rally for the playoffs (the Bombers missed the postseason for the first time in over a decade. Sexson hit only one home run in 22 games.)
More importantly, McCann isn’t playing what his contract says he is worth. With an OPS+ of 85, and well off the pace of his previous years with only ten home runs, the former Brave just hasn’t found a groove. Considering the team has played over 100 games, that is a concerning sign. McCann still has August to get back on track, but last year the slugger hit .220 after the All-Star Break. Things don’t look promising for McCann or first basemen, but the Yankees have managed to stay in the hunt for the wild card and the AL East lead; isn’t that all that matters?