Houston is certainly showing that they are serious about being contenders next season as they acquired veteran catcher Brian McCann from the Yankees in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.
This is an outstanding trade for the New York Yankees in a variety of aspects. The first reason is that the Yankees really have no use at all for Brian McCann at the catcher position going forward. McCann has tremendous power as he still hit 20 home runs last season for New York. However, his offensive production has declined in recent years and he struggled mightily against left-handed pitching as he only hit .218 against them. Also, Gary Sanchez burst onto the scene for the Yankees last season as he hit a whopping .299 with 20 home runs in only 53 games played. Sanchez is only going to be 24 years old at the start of next season, so he is clearly the catcher of the future for the Yankees. Sanchez’s outstanding offensive production made McCann expendable as McCann isn’t nearly as talented as Sanchez and McCann has a $17 million salary next season as well. The Yankees will only be paying $5.5 million of that salary which makes it even better of a deal since they won’t have to pay him nearly as much. Meanwhile, the 2 prospects that the Yankees received makes this deal even better. Albert Abreu has a power arm and has a ton of potential, but he needs some better command as he walked too many batters last year in Single-A. Abreu is still a couple of years from the majors and he figures to start out 2017 in High-A for the Yankees. He had a 3-8 record with a 3.72 ERA, but I expect him to put up better numbers than that next season. Meanwhile, Jorge Guzman is only 20 years and he still has a lot of potential. However, he is far away from the major leagues since he only posted a 4.05 ERA in rookie ball in the Gulf Coast league. Guzman projects well as a powerful bullpen arm at the MLB level since he strikes out a lot of hitters because he consistently throws 100 MPH. It’ll take some patience for the Yankees to develop Guzman, but it’s difficult not to like his ability to throw hard. Overall, New York needed to get rid of McCann since Gary Sanchez is going to be the catcher long-term. Also, getting two quality pitching prospects makes the deal even greater for the Yankees
It is difficult to find catchers that have the type of offensive capabilities that Brian McCann has. McCann provides the Astros with a much needed left-handed hitter in their lineup and he will probably split time with Evan Gattis at catcher. Gattis will likely face left-handed pitching since McCann has struggled a lot against left-handed pitching. However, the one thing that McCannn can really provide is a power bat for Houston as he has hit 20 home runs or more in every season since 2007. His batting average has declined in recent years, but as long as he is driving in runs then I’m sure that the Astros are fine with that. Trading way quality prospects like Guzman and Abreu is never easy to do, but it was probably the right move since the Astros probably don’t have the patience to wait years before those guys can make an impact in the MLB. McCann will replace the inconsistent Jason Castro at catcher who is a free agent himself. McCann is certainly an upgrade at catcher and he’ll provide some more power to the Astros lineup. Overall, this is a pretty good trade for the Astros since they are getting an all-star caliber catcher that can make an immediate impact for the next 2 years at least.