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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Brian McCann: is he worth $17 million for each of the next five years?

Brian McCann 2007
By User Chrisjnelson
[Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
The deed seems to be done.  Supposedly the New York Yankees have signed free agent catcher Brian McCann for $17 million for each of the next five years; that's $85 million total.  McCann inspired me to develop a new criteria I hadn't realized existed and which McCann immediately failed:

Monday, November 25, 2013  Brian McCann is an asshole and Yanks should not sign him.

This post will evaluate McCann mostly by his hitting but I just saw something on MLB Network Clubhouse Confidential TV program:

Catcher pitch framing runs above average:
Jose Molina 33 Tam
Yadier Molina  28 StL
Alex Avila 27 Det
Derek Norris 24 Oak
Brian McCann 22 Atl

I don't know how this was determined or what to do with it but I thought I'd share in case it's relevant like best first basemen at fooling the umpire by leaving the base early on a close force out of the batter.  What a disgrace.  Eliminate the primordial catcher and determine strikes by hitting a fixed target like a bull's eye.  Geez.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013  Protect Joe Mauer from himself: eliminate the catching position.

In addition to most of the catchers mentioned above let's compare McCann to these:
Buster Posey SF
Joe Mauer Min
Carlos Santana Cle
Jonathan Lucroy Mil
Salvador Perez KCR
Russell Martin Pit
Matt Wieters Bal
Miguel Montero Ari

My general view is that you don't want one of your better hitters to be your catcher because you will over pay for a player who will get hurt or will be rested to prevent him from being hurt even more than he is rested.  I think that the optimal thing is to have two catchers of about equal value and have them split the catching duties.

Here are the catchers to simply play enough to qualify for leadership in averages, which is only 502 plate appearances (PA) in order by OPS+:


201120122013
AvilaPoseyMauer
SantanaMauerPosey
MolinaMolinaSantana
McCannMonteroMolina
MonteroSantanaLucroy
WietersPierzynskiPerez
SuzukiEllisMartin
BuckWietersPierzynski
OlivoWieters

No more than nine in any season and only three qualified each of the three seasons:
Yadier Molina  StL
Carlos Santana Cle
Matt Wieters Bal

McCann only in 2011.  In 2012 McCann was injured and lousy.  In 2013 McCann was less injured and less lousy.  That's what the New York Yankees will be paying $17 million for each of the next five years.

Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett qualified for BA in 1980 with 515 PA in only 117 games.  That helped him get credited with a .390 BA.  It's a pretty low threshold and look how few catchers can do it over a three year period: only three.  The Yankees will be lucky if McCann catches 120 games in any of the next five $17 million seasons.  At DH or first base McCann would be ridiculously overpaid.

The Yankees were also probably doing what they do best in these situations: bidding against themselves.  How many other teams, if any, would not have noticed that McCann was trending down and that he will 30 in 2014?

OPS+
AgeCatcher200520062007200820092010201120122013
29McCann1439913511912412287115
30Molina7053859610084124137131
26Avila781429987
26Posey133116171138
30Mauer107144118134171140102140144
27Santana126121137
27Lucroy 90132114
23Perez105
30Martin10111610888869591100
27Wieters9011010788
29Montero11310212112383

Money in millions
AgeCatcher20112012201320142015201620172018201920202021
29McCann6.711.512.017.017.017.017.017.0
30Molina5.37.014.015.015.014.014.0
26Avila0.40.53.0
26Posey0.60.68.012.516.520.021.421.421.421.421.4
30Mauer23.023.023.023.023.023.023.023.0
27Santana0.40.50.53.56.08.3
27Lucroy 0.40.50.82.03.04.0
23Perez0.81.01.51.82.0
30Martin4.07.56.58.5
27Wieters0.40.55.5
29Montero3.25.9101012.21414

Maybe Joe Mauer didn't give Minnesota as much of a home town discount as people thought.  Both Mauer and Buster Posey will be making plenty for many years.  McCann will continue to be paid more than Yadier Molina.  Who thinks that makes sense?  Mauer will move to first base in 2014 because of general wear and tear from catching plus a concussion, which ended his 2013 season on August 19.

To top it off it's my understanding that the Yankees gave McCann a complete no trade clause so they won't even be able to dump him after a couple of years in a sort of Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder you take my unwanted overpaid player and I'll take yours and somehow that will make sense.

At least former Yankee manager and current Baltimore manager Buck Showalter can relax.  It doesn't look like the Yankees will be going after his catcher Matt Wieters any time soon as Showalter had feared if Alex Rodriguez loses his suspension appeal and his salary does not count against the Yankee team payroll.

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