24 Nov 2013
As some of you have noted in the comments, the Yankees did today what their DNA programs to do- spend money on a big free agent. They have reportedly agreed on a five-year/$85-million deal with Brian McCann.
Let’s start with the bad about this deal. First and foremost, it costs the Yankees the 18th-overall pick in the MLB draft. They will probably recoup a first-round pick when Curtis Granderson takes his talents elsewhere, but that pick will be in the 30’s, so they have essentially moved back 15 spots in the draft. That is not insignificant for a team trying to restock its farm system. Signing McCann is by no means an abandonment of the farm system, but it is hard to equate rebuilding it with this move.
Second, this is a lot of money to pay a guy who may not be able to hit lefties anymore and will probably not be a catcher at the end of the deal.
Despite those complaints, there are some big positives from this move.
It’s hard to overstate just how badly the Yankees needed a catcher who could hit. And, the Yankees ideal world with this deal is very easy to see. McCann plays the next three years behind the plate while taking advantage of the short porch to hit lots of homers. In 2017 he transitions to more of a 1B as Gary Sanchez has established himself as a full-time catcher while Mark Teixeira is a free agent.
And, let’s not forget about this. (Note to Red Sox fans- see the position of the mask. That’s how these things are done!) I loved that when I first saw it and that kind of fire was missing from the 2013 Yankees. McCann is going to add a much needed spark to this team.
After reading the relevant CBA sections again, I am pretty sure that the Yankees can’t lose any additional draft picks for signing a free agent who was offered arbitration. (The team that lost such a player would still receive a compensation selection.) So, the Yankees can go after another one of those free agents, or two, without worrying about a penalty. If I am right, and the Yankees choose wisely, they could be very dangerous in 2014.