Catcher would have to approve any move due to no-trade clause
By Barry M. Bloom
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Thursday that he's leaving the annual General Managers Meetings knowing that there is substantial interest from multiple Major League clubs in catcher Brian McCann.
"Yes, more than one has contacted me," said Cashman, who didn't want to be specific about that number. "Clearly, he plays a position which is an area of need in some cases, and it's not an area of strength generally in the game."
The Astros are reportedly one of the teams that have inquired about the catcher, who will be 33 on Feb. 20.
McCann owns a full no-trade clause in his five-year, $85 million contract that extends through 2018 at $17 million per year with a $15 million option for '19. Because of that, McCann must approve any move.
Cashman said he's been told by McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott, that the catcher prefers to remain in New York even though he has been unseated as the starting catcher by rookie Gary Sanchez.
"There won't be any conclusion on McCann unless there's something that makes enough sense to me, and then I'll present it to him," Cashman said. "He'll be a Yankee unless those parameters line up. Could that happen quick? Sure, but it might not happen at all.
"B.B. Abbott just conveyed to me that they're extremely happy in New York. He's been a really productive player for us in the clubhouse and on the field. And obviously, his first thought would be to stay."
McCann became expendable late last season with the emergence of Sanchez, who was brought up from the Minors after the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The rookie hit 20 homers and knocked in 42 runs in 53 games.
McCann played in 130 games -- his lowest number during his time as a Yankee -- starting 86 behind the plate and 28 as the designated hitter. He had a slash line of .242/.335/.413 with 20 homers and 58 RBIs.
Cashman said that if the roster remains the same, Sanchez will be the starting catcher with McCann utilized as his backup and a left-handed-swinging DH. McCann hit .274 (29-for-106) as a DH last season.
Cashman said he knew even before the meetings began on Tuesday that the availability of McCann had already become a hot topic. So he called Abbott before traveling to Arizona, asking how McCann would like to handle any developments.
There has been no contact between the general manager and agent since then because Cashman doesn't have a deal he deems acceptable yet.
When asked if he was no closer to a deal for McCann than when he arrived here, Cashman said: "I wouldn't say that. But it doesn't matter how close I do become or not because McCann has a full no-trade [clause]. So I can have a lot of dialogue and a lot of conversations, which is my job to be doing, but at the end of the day, Brian would have the final say, as he deserves.
"Regardless of what happens, he's a productive member of our club. He gives us a great deal of flexibility and protection by retaining him. And if we found it advantageous to move on any trade opportunities, then so be it. But either way, I think we're in a good spot."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.