Why the Yankees Should Consider Keeping Brian McCann
By Cory Fallon
Even though he’s lost his job as the New York Yankees starting catcher, Brian McCann has considerable value and would be a major asset to next year’s club.
To no one’s surprise, Yankees general manager recently confirmed that Gary Sanchez would be the New York Yankees starting catcher for the 2017 season, and rightfully so. The 23-year-old hit .299 with 20 home runs and 42 runs batted in during his 53 games spent with the Yankees last year. Of those 53 games, 36 were behind the plate, which pushed former starter Brian McCann primarily to designated hitter, with just occasional time at catcher.
McCann has long been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, and the move to DH allowed both the surging Sanchez and consistent McCann to stay in the lineup. There is plenty of room on the roster for both players next year, however the shortage of quality catchers around the league means a number of teams have already begun making offers for McCann this winter, including the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves.
The New York Yankees organization is changing, from a group of old veterans to a group of youngsters ready to bring the Yankees back to the glory days. With Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira retiring in 2016, the Yankees already have that youthful feel. Fans are calling for the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and McCann to all be traded to make way for this new youth movement. So with a buyer interested, Cashman should just go ahead and ship McCann away right?
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Although the Yankees transitioning to a younger team, with Gary Sanchez at its core, McCann should remain a Yankee for at least one more year. He is regarded as one of the best catchers in the game, and Sanchez needs to learn from him. He is a perfect role model for Sanchez to look up to, and while McCann can just DH or fill in at catcher, he can teach Sanchez some valuable lessons about playing the position.
Although normally quiet and reserved Brian McCann is regarded as one of the best teammates in baseball, and is respected around the game. He has mastered the craft of catching, and could use a young apprentice to pass his experience along to.
Sanchez and McCann have worked together during Sanchez’s brief stint with the big league club this year, but 53 games is not enough. A full spring training, regular season and hopefully postseason learning from McCann will benefit the young star. There’s no denying Sanchez’s raw talent and feel for the game, but one of the things McCann could teach and help Sanchez refine his defensive game, which is still rough around the edges.
When Gary Sanchez came up midway through 2016, he made an immediate impact on the club. He had a fantastic rookie season, and could possibly take home Rookie of the Year honors later this week. Like any young player, however, Sanchez will struggle both at the plate and behind it next season. That is just how this game goes. Opposing pitchers will adjust, and inevitably he will slump.
This is where McCann comes in. He can guide the young backstop through slumps, bad games, and so on. McCann has had his share of hot streaks and terrible slumps, so can speak from experience when dealing with Sanchez.
Next: Options at DH if the Yankees Trade McCann
Gary Sanchez is still a young, raw talent looking to be molded into a superstar. He still has some work to do to adjust to the major leagues, and the presence of McCann would be a major benefit to him. McCann could be shipped off somewhere in exchange for some younger guys. But instead of trying to acquire a few hit or miss prospects, the Yankees should worry about one they already have in Gary Sanchez, and have McCann work with him for at least the 2017 season.