The New York Yankees did well in their efforts at rebuilding in advance of last Monday’s trade deadline. With the impending retirement of Mark Teixeira and the release of Alex Rodriguez, their rebuild is going to be in an even better place.
One highly-paid veteran that hasn’t been moved is catcher Brian McCann. The Braves were rumored to be interested in McCann, but according to Jon Heyman, New York’s price for McCann was ridiculously steep – they wanted the pair of Mike Foltynewicz and Ender Inciarte.
The Yankees and Braves have had extensive talks regarding the well-liked veteran catcher who grew up in the Braves’ organization, and others have shown interest, too. The Braves do seem like the most logical possible landing spot, but the Yankees’ last known request for hard-throwing right-hander Mike Foltynewicz and speedy outfielder Ender Inciarte in a deal for McCann apparently was a non starter for Atlanta, who like McCann as a major clubhouse plus for their young, rebuilding team.
Furthermore, the Yankees aren’t exactly keen on eating much of the money remaining on McCann’s contract.
The Braves are said to have offered to pay close to half McCann’s $17-million annual salary, and Atlanta’s idea apparently is to surrender much lesser prospects/players. A Yankees person suggested that while they contributed $2.5 million to complete the Beltran deal, they aren’t anxious to pay down other contracts, either.
It makes sense that the Braves wouldn’t be interested in McCann at that price. The 32-year old is still guaranteed $17 million in each of 2017 and 2018, along with the pro-rated portion of $17 million this year (roughly $5 million). He’s hitting .231/.329/.410 with 15 homers, which seems middling, but is actually above average during a season where MLB catchers are slashing a miserable .240/.308/.385.
Despite their struggles this season, Foltynewicz and Inciarte are both young, controllable, and came to Atlanta in offseason deals over the last two years (Foltynewicz for Evan Gattis, and Inciarte for Shelby Miller). Moving them for a highly-paid veteran with only two and a half years of control (plus an option) just doesn’t make sense for the Braves.
In fact, if anything, the Braves should only look to move either of the players if they’re getting even more young players in return. Foltynewicz is just 24, and has a 4.37 ERA in 78 1/3 innings this season along with 66 strikeouts and 23 walks. The 25-year old Inciarte is hitting .267/.325/.340 with 11 stolen bases in 84 games, though his +13 DRS in left and center field ranks sixth-best among all outfielders in baseball.
But hey – sometimes, you get a crazy, desperate GM that says yes to an offer like that. Remember just last winter, when the Braves got Inciarte, Aaron Blair, and 2015 top overall pick Dansby Swanson for Shelby Miller? You never know how dire a team’s situation really is unless you ask.