Astros have a catcher! Trade for Yankees’ Brian McCann
By Eric Huysman
Houston, we have a new catcher in veteran Brian McCann. This is a great move by the way for the Astros.
If you listen to Talking Stros, the trade with the Yankees for Brian McCann was a move the Astros would make this offseason. With Jason Castro seeking employment elsewhere, I thought the reports that he was interested in returning were hysterical. Castro wanted out, and McCann wanted in. McCann could have refused a trade to the Astros like Cole Hamels did in 2015. Instead, the Astros have a catcher who WANTS to be here.
First off, I was on speaker phone with my wife when I told her about the McCann trade. She immediately asked if that meant Castro was gone? I paused and looked at my nine-year-old son who was watching me with a look of sad anticipation in his eyes. I told my son that I was sorry, but yes, Castro will not return to the Astros. My son broke into tears, so I had to tell him that he will like the new guy.
Despite my wife’s attempt to console my son by asking if there is still a chance, they don’t need three catchers. The Astros have officially moved on from their former first round pick Castro. Welcome to Houston Brian McCann! Should the Rangers re-sign Carlos Gomez, expect more drama between the two teams. Rougned Odor has been known to antagonize the Astros. There is also history between McCann and Gomez.
With the trade for McCann, the Astros could be making moves to go all in for a 2-3 year window. The Astros are a very right-handed team, so to add a consistent 20-homer left-handed hitter in McCann is great. Yankee Stadium and Minute Maid Park are somewhat similar down the right field line. Jeremy Booth has said on Talking Stros before that McCann’s swing is made for MMP.
McCann offers not just a left-handed hitter, but he provides veteran leadership on a very young team. With the Charlie Morton, McCann, and Josh Reddick deals, the average age is increasing. McCann is not Buster Posey or even Gary Sanchez, but not too many catchers are that. McCann is a better offensive catcher than Castro. He also has fewer passed balls, but Castro is the better pitch framer.
The batting average may be close to what Castro has offered in the past. He has been more consistent than the former Stros backstop. McCann has a career .266 batting average with a .799 OPS. This is much higher than Castro’s .699 career OPS. This is a great value being added to the catcher spot. McCann has yet to surpass 100 strikeouts in a season while Castro has done it four times.
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The Yankees acquired two pitchers from Houston in Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. While Abreu will be a loss, they did not have to give up a Francis Martes or David Paulino. According to Brian McTaggart, the Stros will only have to pay $11.5 million of McCann’s $34 million over the next two seasons. This is a steal for what McCann can offer!
The Stros will probably pick up his 2019 $15 million option. The thought of Evan Gattis and Brian McCann catching for at least the next two seasons is exciting. When Gattis is catching, the Stros will rotate players in and out of the DH spot. Booth suggests that Gattis could see some time in left field as well.
Next: If the Astros are going all-in, would you rather have Chris Sale or Chris Archer?
I give this trade two thumbs up. About to write about Reddick, but that signing might have eliminated the Astros chances of signing Edwin Encarnacion. However, the Astros could be setting the stage for a run for the World Series in 2017 like Sports Illustrated predicted. Great job Jeff Luhnow, I thought it would take more to get McCann
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***