On Thursday, the New York Yankees continued the rebuild they began at the 2016 trade deadline. With phemon Gary Sanchez set to take over as the everyday catcher in 2017, the Yankees shipped veteran Brian McCann and cash considerations to the Houston Astros. In return, New York will receive right-handed pitching prospects Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.
TRADE: The @Yankees have acquired RHPs Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman from Houston for C Brian McCann and cash considerations.
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) November 17, 2016
Yankees Trade Brian McCann to Astros
With Sanchez locked in as the starting catcher, the 32-year-old McCann would have been relegated to DH duties had he remained with the Yankees. With a whopping $32 million remaining on his contract, that would have made little financial sense for New York. McCann is aging, and hit just .242 with 20 home runs last season. Given the Yankees wealth of prospects, McCann would have just been a hindrance. Now, one of their young bats can see time at the plate as the designated hitter, or they can use their significant resources to trade for a bat.
Abreu, 21, is entering his fourth minor league season and has yet to pitch above High-A ball. While his numbers are nothing spectacular yet, he is young and should develop. So far, he is striking out more than a batter per inning; across 216.1 minor league innings, Abreu has notched 220 punchouts. If he can bring down his ERA and reduce his walk totals, he could one day be an effective weapon at the major league level.
Guzman, 20, has pitched in just two professional seasons in rookie ball. Like Abreu, he is very raw. The potential, however, is there. He owns 83 strikeouts in 95.1 innings, and his ERA is trending in the right direction.
For the Astros, this deal was about replacing Jason Castro, who became a free agent at the end of the season. This trade likely means Castro won’t return to Houston in 2017. Either that, or Castro and McCann will split time at catcher and DH. Now, however, the Astros have insurance if Castro leaves. McCann could serve as the regular backstop, and is signed for the next two seasons. The Astros are young, and McCann’s veteran presence will be welcome in the clubouse.