The Yankees don’t technically have a starting catcher lined up for the 2013 season, and there may be a late arrival to the radar for said job. According to Buster Olney, the Braves aren’t guaranteed to bring Brian McCann back for the 2013 season, and could look to trade him to free up payroll space. McCann, a former All-Star who had a dreadful 2012 season and just had shoulder surgery a week ago today. he’s expected to be ready to play next year, but the Braves may not be feeling as good about his $12 million option now as they once were.
Olney speculates that the Braves could attempt to negotiate a lower salary with McCann, but that seems unlikely to work, given that McCann would be eligible for free agency if the Braves were to buy out his option. That leaves picking up his option and trading him as the most likely means to a move, and here the question becomes what the Braves would want in return. McCann is coming off of his worst big league season, having hit just .230/.300/.399 (86 wRC+), but that was definitely an outlier. He’s had a wRC+ of at least 119 in every season from 2006-11 with the sole exception of 2007, and hit .270/.351/.466 in 2011. He’s also pretty well regarded for his work behind the plate, especially his pitch framing skills. He will be coming off of shoulder surgery, however, and would only be under the control of the acquiring team for one season.
It’s obviously hard to get a gauge on what teams might do in terms of making trades, but if the Braves really are interested in getting rid of McCann’s salary, he could be a perfect fit for the Yankees as they continue to try to develop their catcher of the future.