Brian McCann has been one of the biggest free agent busts of the offseason so far, hitting just .221 with a .642 OPS in 74 games for the Yankees after seven-time All-Star catcher hit .277 with an .823 OPS in nine seasons for the Braves.
To his credit McCann hasn’t pulled any punches in assessing his own performance in the first season of a five-year, $85 million contract, telling Brendan Kuty of the Newark Star Ledger:
Horrible. Hitting–you know, I feel good behind the plate. But swinging the bat, I need to get better. We’ve just got to keep grinding. I’ve got faith in myself and I think we’ll swing the bats better.
McCann hit poorly in April and May, but June was his worst month with a .198 batting average and .580 OPS.
No one should have expected McCann to collapse so suddenly at age 30, especially since he was one of the better-hitting catchers in baseball last season in Atlanta, but back in November our own Matthew Pouliot did break down why McCann was a poor bet to age well into his thirties and our own Bill Baer analyzed why calling Yankee Stadium home wasn’t going to boost McCann’s power numbers quite as much as many people expected.
Of course, the Yankees talked about how they signed McCann for his Thurman Munson-like intensity behind the plate and … well, that hasn’t changed any (and he’s thrown out a career-high 45 percent of steal attempts, at least). And now they owe him $17 million per season through 2018.
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central
Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?
As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East
The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.
There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.
Here’s how each team breaks down:
New York Mets