The Houston Astros front office has established so far this offseason that they are ready to be aggressive if the opportunity presents itself. Well, here are the New York Yankees shopping a catcher who has consistently been productive offensively for the past ten seasons. With Brian McCann, you know what you're going to get from a power standpoint. McCann has slugged more than 20 home runs each season since 2008, while never totaling more than 26 home runs.
His RBI numbers will always depend on who he has around him, but with an Astros offense that includes the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Springer you would have to believe that McCann could come close to driving in 94 runs like he did for the Yankees in 2015. While McCann's strikeout totals have increased a bit in recent years, he still shows fairly average discipline at the plate. The Astros had seven hitters finish with 100 or more strikeouts in 2015, and McCann finished last season with 99 and 97 in the previous season.
The Astros could use a better contact hitter than McCann, as his batting average is expected to sit right around the .240 mark based on his last few seasons in New York. However, McCann's 54 walks would have ranked him at fourth among all Astros last year, just behind Springer, Correa, and Altuve. The man who McCann would be replacing, Jason Castro, was walked 45 times last season, so the Astros would be upgrading a bit there.
Based on these numbers, it is clear that the Astros would benefit slightly from an offensive standpoint if they trade for McCann next season. I believe that McCann's greatest value for the Astros would come through his veteran leadership in a clubhouse that is stacked with young, yet relatively inexperienced talent. McCann is said to be a great leader in the Yankees clubhouse, so the Astros would definitely love having McCann as a veteran voice who has also played in many big games in his career.
The main issue in getting a deal done with the Yankees really comes down to two important factors. First, McCann is owed $34 million over the next two seasons. Second, the Yankees are only willing to eat half of that contract if the Astros or any other potential trade partner gives up multiple young prospects. This was reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports earlier this morning.
So, keeping in mind that the Astros would like to stay in the mix to make other moves this offseason, I'm not sure that they would be willing to eat the entire $34 million salary of McCann. This means that they would have to give up some young players. With that said, here is a mock trade that I believe would be fair for both clubs:
Astros Receive: Brian McCann ($12 million of his contract paid for)
Yankees Receive: OF Derek Fisher, P Jandel Gustave, and 2B/SS Nolan Fontana
This is pretty much the definition of a compromise. The Astros cannot afford to eat all of McCann's contract, but I've also seen some crazy things on Twitter this week saying that the Yankees are asking for George Springer and that's just some nonsense. The Astros are not going to trade a staple of their young core for a 32 year-old catcher, but they can give up some prospects. This group of young players will not entice the Yankees enough to pay half of McCann's remaining salary, but it gives them some options to stock their minor league system with a pitcher, outfielder, and middle infielder.
Giving up a high-caliber prospect like Fisher would be tough, but I believe that the Astros would be willing to part with one of their Top 10 prospects if it means getting some money from the Yankees in a deal for him. In any case, the Yankees sure are asking a lot for McCann. It will also be interesting to see if the price on McCann drops as the offseason progresses. While all of these rumors circulate, it is important to take a step back and realize that there is a lot of time left in the 2016-2017 MLB Offseason.