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Nemesis McCann Leaves NL East

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 24, 2013 08:00 AM | Comments: 13
Analysis, Guys We Despise, News

McCann signed with the Yankees yesterday, limiting this Phillie-killer’s time spent against the Phils.

Catcher Brian McCann signed with the New York Yankees yesterday on a five-year, $85 million deal. McCann, 30 on Opening Day 2014, was probably not a good fit for the Phillies and was never likely a realistic target for the Fightin Phils. So why waste this space writing about McCann?

Because he was the definition of a Phillie Killer.

Since entering the league in 2005, McCann has hit 176 homers, tops among all catchers. 20 of those homers came at the expense of the Phillies, including 12 at Citizen’s Bank Park. The list of Phillies pitchers McCann has taken yard is a pretty neat time capsule of both the frustrating and exciting times the Phillies have had.

An April 12, 2006 shot off of Cory Lidle was the first of McCann’s 20 bombs. He would take Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels deep three times, Brett Myers twice, tagged Doc in 2012, and managed to hit one off of blink-and-you’ll-miss Phillie Tyler Walker in 2009.

One Phillie McCann was unable to take deep was Cliff Lee – but that doesn’t mean McCann didn’t have success against him. McCann showed no platoon weaknesses against Lee, hitting .321/.367/.429. And McCann had his way against Hamels, too, hitting .279/.353/.541 with the aforementioned three homers. His favorite Phillie pitcher to face, however, may have been Roy Halladay: .360/.407/.560 with a homer.

We, at Phillies Nation, don’t often take time to write about non-Phillies. But we are very excited that McCann will no longer be a regular opponent of the Phillies.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 848 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 5359 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I’m also glad. But I hope no one minds me turning this just a slight bit off topic-
    I’m really hoping that everyone b*tching about the Ruiz contract might take a second look now. In case you were asleep for a few days and missed it, Chooch just signed a deal for half the AAV of McCann, and 3/5 of the length of time.

    Over the last 5 years, McCann has a 22.8 fWAR, Ruiz 16.8. -that’s not half
    Ruiz is 10 fWAR lower defensively and 40 fWAR higher base running during the same period- that’s not half, it’s not even – well even.
    McCann’s wOBA in that time period is .352, Chooch .339- that’s not close to half either.

    I fully understand that there is a 5 year age gap, and that absolutely makes a difference in a player’s value going forward, but I am now officially off the fence. I’m firmly on the side of the Phils for giving Ruiz his contract. He was underpaid for many years when you think of what he meant to this ball club. So if he underperforms a little, especially in the latter years of the deal, I can forgive that. For the record, I think he will continue to exceed expectations as he’s done his whole career.

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      Lefty, I agree with your basic premise. McCann certainly isn’t worth the difference in bucks for the bang and it seems like way too much money for what McCann adds (even for the Yankees).

      That said, a team can only choose so many relative bargains before they thrift themselves out of contention. Cost-wise, Byrd was a relatively far better deal than chasing an Ellsbury or other big ticket outfielders but Byrd was probably not even at the bottom of the wish list of competing teams. If Boston loses Ellsbury they’ll likely replace him with someone like Kemp (if they deem him healthy) and then stick LA with the bulk of Kemp’s exorbitant contract. Boston will have avoided over-paying Ellsbury while picking up at his equivalent talents for a relative song. At the same time, LA is stocked with enough above-average players in their outfield that they can afford to trade Kemp to a number of interested team in return for promising young talent – something LA does need since most of their starters are over 30.

      If the Phils want to rise to the level of “competitive” (meaning a distant flirt with a wild card) they need to figure out how to trade up without giving away the ranch on one player. The risk is inherently greater for a bad team because they often make desperately dangerous moves (like resigning Howard) or dangerously safe moves (like signing Byrd). If the team can’t trade up then they need to blow up and trade away their diminishing assets for future promise.

      Again, I’m reminded of Branch Rickey’s maxim: It’s better to trade your aging stars a year too soon than a year too late. The Phillies have waited until they have no more (functional) stars to use as major reinvestment chips. A Rickey-type GM might have traded a commodity in short supply like Chooch two years ago when the interest was even higher and the team would likely have received an overpayment in return talent from some competing team. When Ruiz’s contract is up he’ll be worth nothing in trade. Byrd will be worth even less and maybe as early as next June. You have to wonder what Byrd’s $16 million could have bought the franchise in a minor league restock – or perhaps in the creation of a first class sabermetrics department – and with enough change left over to overpay (if necessary) a few top scouts.

      I would trade half our player assets to the Cards for John Mozeliak and the other half to the Red Sox for Bill James then spend every dollar saved on building a first class farm system. In the meantime, I’d put an American Legion team on the field if necessary and hope the Astros are on the schedule to preserve some suspense. If they took a similar (albeit less severe) route, I have a suspicion the road to future glory would be shorter than it currently appears.

       
      • Posts: 0 Rudy Canoza

        Agreed about Mozeliak and the Cards. Trading Freese was another great example of knowing when to move a player. Of course, having a productive farm system makes those kinds of moves easier.

        And yes, when viewed in a vacuum, you can completely justify the Ruiz contract. The problem is that when viewed in tandem with all the other questionable contracts that Amaro has tendered, the Ruiz deal just compounds the problem.

        Just think, almost 25% of the 2014 payroll will be allocated to Howard, Papelbon, and Adams. How insane is that? Does anyone actually think that is $45 million well spent?

         
      • Posts: 5359 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        wbramh, I feel your pain, your thoughts are not new. Nearly every news writer, blogger, and MLBTV “expert” is panning the Phillies present direction. Almost everyone agrees that what this management group should do is stop signing older players and bite the bullet for a few years. But it’s pretty clear that they are going to stick with their plan, and I believe they are being driven by the upcoming TV contract. So, if that is truly their plan, (no one commenting on a blog really knows for certain) then the Ruiz signing was the best possible move for this team to make under that circumstance. We all know there is a decent chance they may not be contenders this season, but they certainly won’t be with any other catcher that I’ve seen play.

        Just to be clear, I am not in agreement with what I believe is their plan, -trying desperately to keep this ball club competitive with vets, while slowly growing a few young guys onto the big club. I am all for a Red Sox like purge, but frankly they don’t have the horses in the barn to pull that off. I believe the Sox had the following minor leaguers nearly ready or already playing at the ML level at the time of the big trade-
        Bradley Jr
        Iglesias
        Bogaerts
        Nava
        Vazquez
        And they got Webster and De la Rosa from the Dodgers- Basically they’re stacked.
        I seriously doubt that would work for the Phils. However I am for getting younger ASAP as I have said many times.

        Also as far as the Red Sox, I’m not sure I buy the Kemp talk. I think they did a fantastic job plugging holes with “Byrd type” FA’s last winter (Vic, Gomes,and I believe Drew too) and think they will go in that direction again. Just my opinion, based on nothing concrete. I guess what I’m saying is that Byrd might work out, that type player worked for the Sox, and he certainly helped the Mets finish a game higher than the Phils last year. Was he over paid-contract length? Of course, but does that surprise you?

        The Branch Rickey maxim’s time was three years ago IMO- it’s way too late now. I also love how Mozeliak has put together the Cardinals, but that involved really good scouting, which as you know involves a lot of luck. I agree that the new analytics department is past due, and will help the major league club, and the ML scouts tremendously, but I’m not as sure that it helps as much when scouting high school kids other than establishing a data base, but they’re still competing with 29 other teams trying get all the guys they want.

        I have been spouting the need for a better approach building the club at least since the offseason of 09-10. I’m with you in principle, but since this is the ball club I spent my whole life rooting for, and this is the direction they seem to want to go- I think we just have to live with it and hope for incredible luck health wise to bring desired results. What else can we do?

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Lefty,

        I’m in total agreement with you. The Phils aren’t in the position to function like the Cards and Sox and even if they made all the right moves it would take them multiple seasons to reach their level and depth.

        I guess my point is, as a loving fan like you, we have to preach rather than pray and hope someone in power hears us.

         
      • Posts: 0 lefty

        wbramh, I’ve never been of the belief that the Phils FO reads what is written in the comments section here or on any of the 50 other Phillies boards, but who knows, I guess it’s possible so god bless you and many others for the effort. Keep up the good fight.

         
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Lefty, your numbers are over the past six years, actually (2008-13).

      But over the past 5 years, the difference in fWAR is much smaller (McCann 17.5, Ruiz 16.1). And Ruiz has the higher rWAR, by the way.
      Over the past 4 years they’ve been about the same (Ruiz 13.7, McCann 13.4)
      Over the past 3 years, Ruiz has been better (Ruiz 9.5, McCann 8.3)
      And over the past 2 years (Ruiz 6.6, McCann 4.5)

       
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    +1 lefty. McCann’s 5/85 is ridiculous compared to Chooch’s deal. Byrd’s overpay is a different story.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jaron B

    “Amen!” to that last sentence, Ian!

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Interestingly, McCann has hit about the same against the Phillies as against everyone else.

    vs. PHI: .276/.346/.470 (.816 OPS)
    Overall: .277/.350/.473 (.823 OPS)

     
  • Posts: 546 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    Just an observation on signing Ruiz to a new 3 year contract. I’m glad Amaro made the right decision with Ruiz. I think when Amaro heard reports that Boston had a interest in Ruiz, he decided not to play a waiting game and rewarded his catcher a well deserved contract. Also the fact that Rich Dubee, the long time pitching coach is no longer with the team gave a sense of urgency to Amaro and needed Ruiz’s knowledge of the team’s pitchers and his leadership qualities to stabilize the staff for next season. Also it will help the new Phillies pitching coach, Bob McClure to receive valuable info from Ruiz on all the pitchers as he introduce himself to each member of the staff.

    Congratulations on your well deserved contract “Chooch” !

     
    • Posts: 546 Bruce

      Avatar of Bruce

      And for those who opposed in keeping Ruiz on the team, I ask this, what would be your realistic alternative? Who could fill Ruiz’s shoes when it comes to his often praised defensive skills; his knowledge of the game and the pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses; his leadership ability.? Add his improved hitting and his value to the team is all the more impressive.

       
  • [...] Phillies Nation – Brian McCann is off to the Yankees, and Phillies fans should rejoice. [...]

     
 
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