The Yankees cleared salary and a positional glut on Thursday, trading veteran catcher Brian McCann to the Astros for minor league righthanders Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. The Astros also received an unknown amount of cash. McCann waived his no-trade clause to approve the deal after he was supplanted by Gary Sanchez as the Yankees starting catcher during the year. He has two years and $34 million guaranteed remaining on his contract, plus a 2019 vesting option for $15 million if he makes 1,000 plate appearances between 2017-18, catches at least 90 games in 2018 and doesn’t finish 2018 on the disabled list.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman let it be known publicly the team was looking to trade McCann earlier Thursday morning, when he told WFAN Radio’s Boomer and Carton Show in an interview “in reality McCann’s making $17 million a year. He’s going to have more value to another club than he will to us because he’s in a backup role playing twice a week assuming Gary stays healthy and then DHing against right-handed pitching the rest of the way. So if there is another club that values him more and we can cash in and get some more flexibility as we move forward, all the better. But if not, it would make sense to keep him.”
Albert Abreu, rhp
Abreu is the next in a long line of Astros’ international signees who signs for modest money ($185,000), quickly fills out and develops under Houston’s quality group of coaches and is sitting 5-6 mph harder just a couple of years out from his signing date. Abreu dominated at times in the Midwest League with a mid-90s fastball that will touch 99 at its best. He’s a thrower more than a pitcher at this point in his development, but he has a wide array of pitches. He can blow hitters away with his fastball, but he also has shown an average curveball that is slower in early counts but he tightens up into a potential plus pitch in strikeout situations. His slider is less consistent but also flashes above-average potential and he has a changeup that is as consistent as a toddler’s mood but shows fade and deception when he throws it with conviction. His control needs work and he doesn’t set hitters up as much as overwhelm him. His blow-em-away approach and his currently fringy control screams reliever, but there is nothing in his arsenal or delivery that would keep him from developing as a starter.
— J.J. Cooper
|Quad Cities (MWL)||LoA||2||8||3.50||21||14||4||90||62||40||35||5||49||104||.193|
|Jorge Guzman, rhp
Nothing sums up the state of velocity in the game in 2016 more than Jorge Guzman, a righthander who can touch 101-103 mph at his best, but is better off when he gears down and sits 97-99 mph. When Guzman is tickling triple digits on the radar gun, hitters better stay loose as he’ll miss badly at times because he overthrows. But when he settles down to a steady 97-98, he can locate with a fastball that is still enough to blow hitters away. Guzman also has a potentially plus slider and a developing changeup. Most scouts expect he’ll end up as a power reliever in the long-term, but one who could challenge Mauricio Cabrera and Aroldis Chapman for the crown of hardest-throwing big league reliever.
— J.J. Cooper
Brian McCann, c
The seven-time All-Star has declined since his prime, but still represents an upgrade behind the plate for Houston. McCann has hit at least 20 home runs for nine consecutive seasons and is just one year removed from winning a Silver Slugger Award in 2015. Still, his three-year Yankees tenure concludes with a .235/.313/.418 slash line, not what New York was hoping for after signing him to a five-year, $85 million deal after the 2013 season. McCann was largely pushed to DH duty last year after the Yankees midseason callup of Gary Sanchez. He will catch for the Astros, who have not had a starting catcher post an OPS above .700 since 2013. Never a defensive stalwart, McCann was charged with minus-five defensive runs saved by Baseball-Reference.com and threw just 23 percent of baserunners in 2016.
|New York (AL)||.244||.335||.415||422||54||103||12||0||20||56||52||99||1|