The Astros made a big splash Thursday afternoon by trading for Yankees catcher Brian McCann. What is the fantasy fallout from this transaction?
The Houston Astros have a nice core group of players on offense, and I already talked about their No. 1 starting pitcher. If there was one need for the Astros to lock up this offseason, it would be the catcher position with Jason Castro hitting free agency.
It didn’t take long as the Astros and New York Yankees agreed to a deal to send veteran catcher Brian McCann to Houston in exchange for two pitching prospects. This trade has a lot of fantasy ramifications, and actually benefits both sides.
My colleague Brad Kelly wrote about McCann’s value as a trade could be imminent just a week ago. At the time, he mentioned the Astros and Atlanta Braves were top teams in the mix to acquire McCann.
First, the Astros add a veteran bat that can still provide some power. In 130 games with the Yankees, McCann hit 20 home runs, 58 RBI and a .413 slugging percentage.
He also had a 99:54 strikeout to walk ratio with a .335 on-base percentage.
While McCann should slot in as Castro’s replacement at catcher, there may be another spot for him. Current designated hitter Evan Gattis has experience behind the plate.
If the Astros want, they could move him back there and keep McCann healthy by penciling him in at DH.
Regardless of where he plays, I fail to see anything negative with the Astros acquiring McCann from a fantasy or reality standpoint.
Now, moving over to New York, the Yankees benefit greatly. They will be paying about $5.5 million in each of the next two seasons. The Yankees get out from under yet another bloated contract, which frees up some money to acquire some pitching, if they so choose.
This trade also clears up any confusion regarding who the Yankees starting catcher is. Congratulations Gary Sanchez. The Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up had an awesome two months. He hit 20 home runs, 42 RBI and .299 in that span.
That’s a lineup that could compete in the American League West.
There are now rumors of the Yankees bringing Carlos Beltran back to serve as the team’s DH. Like I said, there is a big ripple effect from this trade.
Before I forget, the Yankees received Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman in return. Abreu has a 3.16 ERA and 1.225 WHIP in 51 games in the Astros farm system. Guzman posted a 4.63 ERA and 1.458 WHIP in 30 appearances. They aren’t going to be fantasy relevant for a few years.
I teased the idea of McCann serving as the Astros DH, but I ultimately think he’ll be behind the plate and Gattis remains in the outfield. Houston promised a big offseason and things are just getting started.
McCann and Gattis rank inside my top-10 among catchers. Gattis qualifies as a catcher in ESPN leagues, as he played 52 games behind the plate. McCann may have one more good season left.