Yankees: Four Off Season Mulligans For GM Brian Cashman

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
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Did Brian McCann Really Have To Go?

The reasons why Brian McCann left the Yankees to join the Houston Astros are well known. He saw the writing on the wall with Gary Sanchez, and he knew he would be reduced to a secondary role as a catcher.

To his credit, McCann feels like he has a lot of baseball still left in him, and he also believes his full-time playing days as a catcher are not over. He was also parlaying for a multi-year deal.

What seems to be apparent, though, is that the Yankees made only a half-hearted effort to keep this proven veteran in the Bronx. He was dismissed and put in the “probably gone” category, and nearly forgotten about from there.

Did The Yankees Try Very Hard On This One

It is significant to note, however, that the Yankees were able to come to a one-year agreement with a veteran in similar circumstances (Matt Holliday), and both sides appear to be happy with the deal.

Barring injuries, Gary Sanchez will catch anywhere from 130-140 games this season. And even though Sanchez is young and strong, the 140 number is probably a little high, especially when you get to mid-season when the team is playing six days a week in summer temperatures.

Clearly, the Yankees were in no position to offer McCann the full-time catching job. But together with DH opportunities, is there any reason why McCann wouldn’t have accumulated as many as 400 at-bats this season?

Moreover, if Brian McCann knew that the Yankees wanted him, might he have given second thoughts to uprooting his family to live in Houston for the next two years?

And if the Yankees has made clear to him that he had a future with the team beyond his playing days, would that have made a difference? Because he is made of the right stuff to become a manager or coach if he wants to go that route when he retires.

The Yankees Will Feel McCann’s Loss

His value to the Yankees, and in particular, Gary Sanchez, goes well beyond those 400 at-bats. McCann is tailor made to be the mentor Gary Sanchez needs because hearing advice from a colleague is far different than hearing it from a manager or coach.

So, by not insisting on signing McCann, the Yankees, in effect, made a decision to re-invent the wheel with Gary Sanchez. All of the knowledge that McCann possesses about Yankees pitchers is now 2,500 miles away, instead of a locker adjacent to each other in the clubhouse.

The Yankees could live to regret this one, and it’ll be sooner rather than later.