Astros: Brian McCann needs surgery and will be out for 4-6 weeks

ehuysman78
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 26: Brian McCann #16 of the Houston Astros drops to his knees after he was hit in the head by the bat of Yangervis Solarte #26 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 26: Brian McCann #16 of the Houston Astros drops to his knees after he was hit in the head by the bat of Yangervis Solarte #26 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Astros will be without their primary catcher Brian McCann for a while.

When the news broke earlier about Brian McCann hitting the DL, it was a little worrisome. This was the second time this year, and he missed some time last August with a sore knee. No matter what McCann does with the bat, the Astros need him behind the plate for the playoffs. He has built a great relationship with the pitching staff and has been a good mentor for Max Stassi.

While it was announced earlier that it was just a sore knee, Ken Rosenthal reported that the injury is much worse. According to Rosenthal, McCann will miss 4-6 weeks after he has surgery on his right knee. Stassi has been productive offensively but now has to up his overall game with McCann out.

The 34-year-old McCann has tailed off the past few seasons with the bat. Maybe this can be blamed on the knee, but the Astros decided to fix McCann’s knee now. If everything goes as planned, he should be recovered and ready around mid-August. That would give him a month and a half to gear up for the playoffs.

Has the workload finally caught up to McCann?

After year’s of catching 130 plus games, McCann only played in 97 games last year. Outside of one inning in the playoffs, McCann caught every game during the playoffs last year. McCann has a much better-caught stealing rate than Stassi. As I mentioned earlier, his loss will be felt by the pitching staff. Stassi has only thrown out 22% percent of stolen bases, but McCann was a little higher at 33%. Stats from Baseball-Reference.

Via Ryan Spaeder on Twitter, Astros pitchers had a 2.47 ERA in 397 innings pitched with McCann behind the plate. On the other hand, pitchers have a 3.47 ERA with Stassi behind the plate. While the focus has been on the dynamic Astros rotation, McCann should get some credit for handling the pitching staff.

Who are options to replace McCann?

As I wrote earlier, Tim Federowicz was called up to be the backup to Stassi while McCann is out. If Federowicz struggles, Garrett Stubbs could get the call after the Triple-A All-Star game. Stubbs is batting .331 with two homers with the Fresno Grizzlies. If none of these players get the job done closer to the end of July, the Astros could look to the trade market.

While everyone will point to J.T. Realmuto, that would possibly require trading Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley. Realmuto could offer defense and power at the plate, but won’t come cheap. The Astros could try for Jonathan Lucroy again. He may not be that much of an offensive upgrade over Stassi if any.

What about the likely AL starting catcher at the 2018 All-Star game? That would be the Rays catcher, Wilson Ramos. He is batting .290 with 11 homers and 43 RBI. There has been some interest in the past to sign Ramos so that they may target him. The 30-year-old catcher is a free agent after the series, is making $8.5 million this year. He may not cost as much as Realmuto would.

Next: Brian McCann hits the DL a second time with knee injury

If they decide to trade for Realmuto, it will be to address the future need as well as 2018. Should they chose to trade for Ramos, Lucroy, or someone else, it would be a temporary fix. They will use July as a chance to evaluate Stassi, but they will keep an eye on the catchers market. Haven’t seen any confirmation from the team yet.

facebooktwitterreddit