The New York Yankees just shipped catcher Brian McCann to the Houston Astros for two minor league pitchers, because who needs a catcher with 20-plus home runs in nine-straight seasons?
I jest. The move makes sense for the Pinstripes. McCann is on the wrong side of 30; he’s trending down (the career .266 hitter batted under .250 for the third straight year and had his lowest RBI total since 2013); and he’s set to earn $17 million next year.
This website has New York at 40/1 odds to win the 2017 World Series. Trading away an above average starting fielder for minor league pitching doesn’t tend to raise a team’s chances for the upcoming season, but moving McCann and his bloated contract opens up space for the Yankees to go after an even bigger bat. And with Gary Sanchez taking over for McCann behind the plate, it’s not like they’ll lose any pop from the position in fact, they’ll gain a whole hell of a lot (as long as Sanchez doesn’t go all Joe Charboneau on us. I see the Yanks odds being shorter than 40/1 when Opening Day rolls around, as long as they don’t waste their spending money on snake oil like Matt Holliday.
Who are the Yanks targeting with what I’ll call “the McCann money”?
Rumors are that an all-too familiar face is on their radar: Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion.
Yes, he’s even older than McCann (33), but the man they call Double E banged out a career-high 42 homers last year and knocked in 127 runs, also a career-high. He hasn’t slowed down, and he was a big part of why the Jays edged the Yankees for an AL Wild Card berth last year. Snagging the slugger from a division-rival provides a little extra incentive to a move that makes sense already.
It’s going to take a lot of money to land Encarnacion, and the Yankees have been remarkably restrained in free agency recently. But they’re back to being a contender now and the pocket books should be opening up again. And hey, maybe they can get Double E at a discount if they offer to throw in some Froot Loops for his parrot.