Tag: Brian McCann

CC Sabathia AP

Thought experiment: How many MLB teams would wipe the slate clean?


Baseball news is slowing down for Thanksgiving and for some reason this idea randomly popped into my head while on Twitter, so I figured I’d ask it here: How many MLB teams, if given the option, would say yes to being taken off the hook for all guaranteed contracts currently on their books?

In other words, all or nothing. Wipe the slate clean. Every player signed for guaranteed money is no longer on your team and you’re no longer responsible for their contract. You get to keep all players not signed to specific, non-minimum salaried contracts, which means pre-arbitration eligible players basically.

For instance, my beloved Twins would wipe six players off their books: Joe Mauer, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Glen Perkins, Kurt Suzuki, and Mike Pelfrey. Hughes would hurt a lot, since he was great in 2014 and is reasonably priced, but Mauer, Nolasco, and Pelfrey would be easy calls to jettison. Overall the Twins would probably be better off with a clean slate.

Another example is the Yankees, who’d be wiping these players off their books: Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Martin Prado, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young. Obviously some of those would hurt, but as a whole the Yankees would seemingly jump at that chance to wipe the slate clean.

Which other teams would do the same?

Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates

Russell Martin has agreed to a five-year contract with the Blue Jays, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

For the past several weeks the Cubs were viewed as the front-runner for Martin and the Pirates were also making a run at re-signing the 31-year-old catcher, but the Canada native decided instead to head home.

After a great start to his career with the Dodgers he mostly struggled from 2009-2013, never cracking a .750 OPS, but Martin hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games for the Pirates this season to re-establish himself as one of the game’s best catchers.

In addition to the good on-base skills and durability Martin also grades out extremely well in pitch-framing statistics, suggesting his all-around value is generally underrated.

No word yet on the money, but last offseason’s five-year, $85 million deal between Brian McCann and the Yankees seems to be a likely starting point.

UPDATE: Martin will get $82 million for five seasons.

Pirates acquire catcher Francisco Cervelli from Yankees

cervelli getty

As first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Pirates have acquired catcher Francisco Cervelli from the Yankees. Joel Sherman at the New York Post confirms the news and says left-handed reliever Justin Wilson is headed to the Yankees in return.

This likely signals the end of the Russell Martin era in Pittsburgh, if that wasn’t already apparent. The free agent backstop reportedly wants something similar to the five-year, $85 million deal that Brian McCann received from the Yankees last winter.

Cervelli had an excellent .301/.370/.432 batting line this past season with New York, but that high-level production came in just 49 games. He was a .271/.343/.367 career hitter heading into 2014.

Wilson was one of the most effective relievers in baseball in 2013, posting a 2.08 ERA across 73 2/3 innings, but the 27-year-old southpaw regressed to a 4.20 ERA in 60 innings this past summer for Pittsburgh.

Brian McCann: “I’m definitely going to change my approach”

brian mccann getty

Brian McCann had a disappointing first season with the Yankees, hitting just .232 with a career-low .692 OPS in 140 games after signing a five-year, $85 million contract.

He’s an extreme pull hitter and teams shifted a ton against McCann, who told MLB Network that he’s “definitely going to change my approach a little bit” next season in an effort to combat the shifts.

I think there’s definitely times to bunt. Maybe leading off the inning down four or five runs or [with a] man on first, no outs, try to start a rally. But, you know, as far as hitting the ball the other way, that’s something I’ve definitely done going into spring training and then a month into the season you look up and you sacrifice power and driving the baseball. Or at least I do. That’s the line I have to walk. I’ve hit a certain way for a long, long time.

It’s certainly valid for a good hitter to worry about his overall production declining if he were to change his approach trying to beat shifts, but when you’re coming off a season in which you got on base just 28 percent of the time working on laying down some bunts and slapping the ball down the third base line seems like a pretty reasonable change.

Russell Martin wants at least $75 million

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates

We already know Russell Martin will turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Pirates and previously reports have said the Cubs are the front-runners to sign him. And now Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Canada says the free agent catcher “wants a contract worth between $75-$80 million over five years.”

Brian McCann got a five-year, $85 million deal from the Yankees last offseason. Martin is a couple years older than McCann was then and failed to top a .750 OPS from 2009-2013, but he’s coming off a fantastic season in which he hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games.