Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

Houston Astros Finalize Deal with Yankees, Acquire Catcher Brian McCann

The Astros have made their first major deal of the offseason, acquiring veteran catcher Brian McCann and cash from the New York Yankees in exchange for two minor league prospects

A trade has gone through! Just a few short minutes ago, the Houston Astros announced via their Twitter account that the team has completed a trade with the New York Yankees for veteran backstop Brian McCann. In the deal, the Astros traded right-handed pitchers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. Guzman and Abreu are still young, and will add value to a Yankees team that is clearly trying desperately to get younger.

Just yesterday, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow hinted that Astros fans would be happy with more acquisitions throughout the offseason that would strengthen the team for 2017. Luhnow made this statement after the team signed veteran right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton yesterday morning, a move that many Astros fans did not see coming. This move fit the profile of a typical Luhnow signing, one that includes a player hoping to rebound and includes many performance and durability incentives. 

Now, the Astros are surely going to let Jason Castro, the team's catcher for the last few seasons and former first round pick, walk and take another deal this offseason. Castro, at 29 years old, has a career batting average of .232 and possesses minimal power in his overall offensive makeup. Although he had one great season in 2013 when he was the Astros representative for the American League All-Star team, Castro hit .211 in 2015 and .210 in 2016. This left Astros fans frustrated with his performance, as well as the front office. 

In Brian McCann, the Astros will get a proven veteran leader who can be a great presence in a clubhouse that lacks many veterans. On the field, McCann is a much needed left-handed bat that can balance with an Astros lineup that heavily favors right-handed hitters. McCann will not be pressured to catch every game, as the Astros have another catcher in Evan Gattis on the roster as well as the up-and-coming Max Stassi.

The Astros have three free agents from last year's team in Luis Valbuena, Jason Castro, and Colby Rasmus who are left-handed hitters so it was important that the Astros replaced that void in the offseason. In addition, Luhnow has already claimed Nori Aoki off waivers from division rival Seattle, adding another left-handed bat to the mix. 

Another important note about this trade is that in order to become an Astro, McCann had to waive his no-trade clause. The Astros have had some troubles getting players to waive this clause in the past, as Luhnow controversially pointed out this past summer. The team had a deal in place to acquire Cole Hamels in 2015 before Hamels declined to come to Houston and instead winded up on the roster of the rival Texas Rangers.

Finally, it was released that the Astros will be paying McCann $11.5 million annually. Jon Heyman, an MLB Network insider, reported that the Yankees would cover $5.5 million annually of McCann's contract as part of the agreement. This gives the Astros a little bit more flexibility when looking at other options this offseason, as the front office is certainly not finished wheeling and dealing. It should be a very fun November and December. 

To further discuss the signing with AstrosInsider staff and fans from around the world, click here

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