Yankees Introduce Former Braves' Catcher Brian McCann

Friday, December 6, 2013
Brian McCann
Brian McCann
- photo by Tim Evearitt

NEW YORK -- Brian McCann was swept away by the Yankees' offer of a five-year, $85 million contract. McCann is still months away from strapping on the gear for his new club, but he sounded like a man ready to get to work on Thursday.

3em; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">"When the Yankees call you and you go through the process I went through, you leave blown away," McCann said. "There's a reason they're the New York Yankees. You walk in here, everything's bigger. They put attention to detail on everything, they make you feel the way that you want to feel."

As excited as McCann seemed to be in the Bronx, the Yankees are even more elated that their sales pitch was received. A left-handed-hitting catcher who has slugged 20 or more home runs in six consecutive seasons, McCann instantly upgrades the Bombers at a position where they needed serious improvement.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi were quick to tie McCann into the team's history of famed catchers, from Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra to Elston Howard and Thurman Munson to Jorge Posada.

Already a seven-time All-Star, McCann followed the cue. He slipped on a No. 34 jersey, since his old No. 16 is retired for Whitey Ford -- and said that he hopes to live up to those expectations.

McCann's contract includes a vesting option for the 2019 season, as well as a no-trade clause. The Yankees and McCann reached agreement on a contract before the Thanksgiving holiday, but the deal was not officially announced until McCann could undergo his physical.

Hearing of the Yankees' interest from his agent, B.B. Abbott, intrigued McCann. The deal was essentially sealed by McCann's recent visit to New York, as a contingent of executives gave him a tour of the Yankee Stadium facilities and then sat down for a dinner that stretched into a three-hour discussion.

McCann said that he also leaned on Mark Teixeira, a former teammate from his Braves days, who told him that the Yankees value winning and family highly.

Cashman said that McCann's personality will serve the Yankees' pitchers well, and that he tends to "make everyone feel warm and fuzzy" as a result of his inclusionary attitude.

But for the deal to truly live up to expectations, McCann will need to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch. After the Yanks watched their four catchers slug an MLB-low eight home runs in 2013, McCann's left-handed stroke is expected to mesh nicely.

"This ballpark should play to his skill level very well," Girardi said. "And to me, what I really fell in love with -- you can look at the offensive numbers, you can look at how his pitching staff has been successful, but it's the way he plays the game and the intensity he brings."

This past season, McCann batted .256 with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs in 102 games. He missed the Braves' first 30 games of the year while recovering from right shoulder surgery, returning to throw out 24 percent of baserunners attempting to steal.

----- Source: MLB.com

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