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The 2013 Atlanta Braves are positioned to be serious contenders in the National League with the offseason acquisitions of B.J. and Justin Upton. If the Braves fail to live up to their preseason hype, there is one player who could wind up on the trading block.
The 28-year-old catcher is coming off shoulder surgery for a torn labrum. McCann has been one of the most successful catchers in the National League as he has averaged a .279 batting average during his eight-year career with the Braves. He has also recorded six-straight NL All-Star appearances (2006-11) with five Silver Slugger awards to his credit.
McCann is signed through the end of the 2013 season. The Braves and McCann have agreed not to commence trade discussions until after the season.
Would the Braves trade McCann?
If the Braves fail to live up to expectations, there is a good chance that McCann could be available. The Braves do have a highly-touted catching prospect, Christian Bethancourt, waiting in the wings, and his progression in the minors could dictate McCann's future.
One caveat to a McCann trade could be teams' concerns on his health and durability. However, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that bullpen coach Eddie Perez feels McCann will be fine.
“I think this year he’s going to be healthy,” Perez told the AJC. “I saw him last week and he looks really good. He’s going to put up some numbers. And I’m not going to be surprised. I’m sure he’s going to have an unbelievable season this year”
If McCann has a good season and the Braves fail to meet expectations, there could be a slew of teams interested in his services.
One team to keep an eye on if McCann comes available would be the New York Yankees. The Yankees could use McCann as a catcher/DH to split time with Francisco Cervelli or Chris Stewart. He could also provide a capable left-handed bat and bridge to future Yankee starting catching prospect Austin Romine.
The Yankees did a similar move in the late 1990s when they brought in Joe Girardi to help groom Jorge Posada into his eventual starting role.
McCann's availability, however, will depend on a myriad of health and team factors. Braves fans are hoping that McCann proves to be another essential piece that leads them back to the postseason.