Free-agent catcher Brian McCann and the New York Yankees are about to complete a five-year deal worth around $85 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn’t finalized. The contract is expected to include a vesting option worth $15 million. The deal’s completion is pending a physical.
In an already brisk offseason throughout the majors, the McCann move would be the first major addition for the Yankees since they missed the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years. They finished fourth in the AL East this year.
The Yankees made finding a catcher a priority, and McCann was the best available. The seven-time All-Star played all nine of his big league seasons with the Atlanta Braves, hitting at least 20 homers for a sixth consecutive season before choosing to test the market after the World Series.
The 29-year-old McCann returned from offseason shoulder surgery in April and hit .256 with 57 RBI in 356 at-bats for the NL East champions.
The Braves will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second round of the June draft because McCann turned down their $14.1 million qualifying offer.
The Yankees relied heavily on career backup Chris Stewart last year after Francisco Cervelli was injured, then suspended 50 games. They had let Gold Glove catcher Russell Martin leave as a free agent in a cost-cutting move before the 2013 season.
McCann bats left-handed, always a bonus for power hitters at Yankee Stadium with the short right field fence. He is a career .277 hitter with 176 home runs and 661 RBI.
CARDINALS: Free agent Jhonny Peralta is closing in on a multiyear deal with St. Louis, according to ESPN.com.
Peralta, 31, is a two-time All-Star and .268 career hitter with 156 home runs in 11 seasons with Cleveland and Detroit. He missed 50 games late last season in conjunction with his involvement in Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis scandal.
The Cardinals expect to slot Peralta in at shortstop in place of Pete Kozma next season. Matt Carpenter will move from second base to third and rookie Kolten Wong will play second in a reconfigured infield for the National League champions.