Potential 3-way trade: Where can Brian McCann fit?

With the emergence of Gary Sanchez and the injury to the Washington Nationals’ Wilson Ramos, the New York Yankees will have the luxury to shop around Brian McCann and get value with many teams trying to upgrade the catching position. Due to McCann’s contract and the need for starting pitching, there may not be a viable one-on-one trade partner. Thus, I offer a possible three-team trade.

A trade between the Yankees, the New York Mets, and the Tampa Bay Rays may seem impossible because of the in-state and intra-division rivalries. However, when the goal is to improve the ballclub, those types of obstacles are easy to overcome.

Yankees give up Brian McCann and Mason Williams, receive Drew Smyly

The Yankees are likely to explore free agency in search for an additional starting pitcher. Since there are not a lot of attractive options given the rising cost of starting pitching, Smyly would slide in as the fourth starter behind Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda. At 27 years old, Smyly will make around $7 million in 2017 and comes with two more years of team control. Also, with McCann’s contract coming off the books (he would have to waive no-trade clause) the Yankees can use the savings to look at free agents to bolster the offense (Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo) or add another reliever after trading Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Parting with Williams might be a little early, but there may not be a lot of playing time in 2017 for him and the Yankees have added outfield prospects to the farm system.

Mets give up Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud, receive Brian McCann

The window for this current club may be closing sooner than most people may want to believe. Their prized young starting pitchers were besieged with injury. Thought to be set for the next decade, the time is now to produce a champion.

The Mets move on from d’Arnaud and upgrade with left-handed hitting McCann. Neither catcher is exceptional defensively, but both are above average in some areas. However, McCann offers much more offense. Given the opportunity to be a full-time catcher should be attractive to McCann. The Mets could re-sign Rene Rivera, who in limited action hit .314 against left-handed pitching, to spell McCann without losing on the defensive end. Finally, McCann does have at least $34 million left on his contract. This is offset if Neil Walker, earning $10.5 million in 2016, does not sign and at 31 looks for one last payday.

Dealing Conforto may not be ideal, but with potentially a crowded outfield of Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Juan Lagares, there may not be a lot of playing time for Conforto anyway.

Rays give up Drew Smyly, receive Michael Conforto, Travis d’Arnaud, and Mason Williams

After a disappointing season where the Rays saw more offense, increasing in home runs, they may need to go back to what made them successful from 2008-11: run prevention through pitching and defense. The Rays have quite a bit of starting pitching, making Smyly a good trade candidate. Two main areas they look to improve during the offseason are their bullpen and catcher.

After a carousel of 4A catchers, they can perhaps benefit from a change of scenery for d’Arnaud. He has had a lot of injuries so he does come with risk. However, there is still upside for the Rays, who need to look for players they can buy low.

You also cannot ignore the financial aspect to the trade. The Rays relieve themselves of approximately $5 million and gain three years of control.

The Rays also get Conforto, who is not arbitration eligible until 2019 and reaches free agency in 2022. He is a good defender and would be the Rays’ opening day left-fielder. He did have a down year in 2016 but will only be 24 years old on opening day. This would add another left-handed bat, but could move Corey Dickerson, who is a bit defensively challenged, to a full-time DH role.

Williams is likely the odd man out in a Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge outfield. Once a highly regarded prospect who had some difficulties in the minors, he appears to have turned it around. He does not strike out a lot, he can steal bases, and he provides good defense. This makes him an attractive fourth outfielder for the Rays. The Rays tried out several guys in the outfield looking for a good replacement after trading Brandon Guyer. Williams will help solidify the position.

This trade does not address the bullpen directly for the Rays. But with the money saved the front office could look at free agents.

9 Responses

  1. Pal88

    That is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard….in my mind, a straight up between the Yankees and Mets Conforto for McCann would also be dumb…McCann is at the end of his career..a 240 hitter at best..Conforto has a very bright future.

    • fuster

      If the Mets hang on to Cespedes, where do they play Conforto? Granderson and Cespedes have the corner outfield spots for 2017 filled.

      McCann is a better catcher than anyone on the Mets…and the Mets NEED a catcher far more than a corner outfielder//// ( who hit 220)

      • Chin

        IF the Mets retain Cespedes (BIG IF), they could trade Granderson and/or Bruce. They can also send Conforto to AAA, as both Granderson and Bruce are FAs after 2017, so he’s not blocked long-term even if Cespedes is brought back.

        McCann is a catcher in his thirties; those guys don’t age well at all. Sure, he’d probably be an upgrade, but trading a good, young asset for him (and his contract) would be dumb.

        Just not a good trade for the Mets.

  2. Chin

    That’s an excellent trade…for Tampa. Flat-out awful for the Mets.

    • Metamet

      Just awful – Mets would never do it. Yanks should be happy to dump McCann’s contract. I’d give them Bruce or maybe Gsellman or Lugo for him, that’s it.

  3. Art

    I can see a scenario where the Mets trade Jay Bruce in some type of deal for McCann but only if they have already resigned Cespedes. I can’t see them trading Conforto for him though.

    • fuster

      Yankees don’t want Conforto or any other outfielder not named Trout or Harper.

      Yankees want starting pitching, preferably lefthanded.


Leave a Reply