Yankees Sign Brian McCann

Late this evening the New York Yankees signed catcher Brian McCann to a 5/$85mil contract with a vesting option that would bring the deal to 6/$100. I was concerned the Yankees would overvalue Brian McCann with a $100mil+ contract for five years, and they did overpay, but I’m more indifferent than upset with this signing. It has good qualities and bad qualities.

Year

Age

xWAR

$/WAR

Value

Salary

2014

30

3.6

5

18

17

2015

31

3.1

5.25

16.23

17

2016

32

2.6

5.51

14.33

17

2017

33

2.1

5.79

12.16

17

2018

34

1.6

6.08

9.73

17

2019 (Option)

35

1.1

6.38

7.02

15

Total

13/14.1

70.45/77.47

85/100

I based my WAR predictions on his Steamer forecast for 2014. They have Brian McCann putting up an fWAR of 3.6. From there I decreased it by 0.5 each season. I think his Steamer forecast looks right on and I think as he ages he will decline similar to a 0.5 per season decline. However, one could feel differently. If you think he will be a full-time DH by year three or four and want to decrease his WAR because of that (losing the positional value) then go ahead.

If McCann stays for five years then according to the value I have him accumulating he will reach 83% of his salary. If his option vests he will reach 77% of his salary in value produced.

So while it IS an overpay, I like that the deal in the short run when his production and value will be in line with his salary. Although the Yankees still have a lot of work to do to contend in 2014 and the near future, it’s better for their bottom line to try and stay a contender than tank for a few years. While they need better player development and to produce some in-house stars, a better strategy for their business is to refuel and reload. They can do that with this contract. In three years Gary Sanchez may be ready to take over full-time catching duties. McCann can catch part-time and DH for two years and focus on his offense.

On the flip side, could this money be better spent elsewhere to improve this team? To be honest, I’m not sure. Chris Stewart is slated to be the starter for 2014 while Francisco Cervelli is suspended for 50 games. McCann is a three win upgrade over Stewart and will be paid like it. After that, the Yankees can ease in their catching prospects while McCann gets the majority of starts and gets some time at 1b and/or DH to keep his bat in the lineup.

One downside is losing a draft pick. But the Yankees are probably figuring to they will gain some if they lose Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda. Although with a reinvigorated focus on growing farm one wonders if this McCann contract is worth losing a first round pick- a pick which could always be franchise changing.

As for the rest of the Yankees off-season I would like them to re-sign Robinson Cano (but not to anything above $250mil), sign Tanaka if he is posted, sign re-sign Kuroda (depending on years and/or price), and sign Omar Infante to play third base.

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