McCann toured the opulent clubhouse, then went to a hotel room arranged by the team at the $695-and-up Mandarin Oriental overlooking Central Park. McCann merely had to take an elevator downstairs for a dinner with manager Joe Girardi and three other team executives at Porter House New York, a sleek steak restaurant in the Time Warner Center, filled with cherry wood floors and leather seating.
Four days later, he had a deal for an $85 million, five-year contract, the start of a new spending spree by the Yankees that also includes a pending $153 million, seven-year agreement with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
“When the Yankees call you and then you go through the process that I went through, you leave blown away,” McCann said Thursday during a news conference at his new home ballpark. “There’s a reason that they’re the New York Yankees. You walk in here, everything’s bigger. They put attention to detail with everything. They make you feel the way that you want to feel.”
“It was,” he added, “a perfect fit.”
While the Yankees are adding players, they appear less likely to re-sign Robinson Cano. New York believes it may be outbid by the Seattle Mariners for the All-Star second baseman, who at first sought a 10-year deal for more than $300 million.
General manager Brian Cashman met last month with Jay Z, going to the office of the rap mogul who is one of Cano’s agents.
“Our club has negotiated very hard with Robinson Cano and has made fair offers to Robinson Cano,” Girardi said.
Himself a former Yankees catcher, Girardi was excited about upgrading with McCann, a seven-time All-Star who joins a lineage that includes Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada.
“We think we have the next great Yankee catcher here with us,” Girardi said.
New York was 16th in the major leagues with 650 runs this year, its lowest ranking since 1991, according to STATS. McCann and Ellsbury, who hope to benefit from Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field, appear to be just the start of an upgrade.
Ellsbury and Brett Gardner should help form a superior defensive outfield.
“These guys are going to cover a lot of ground,” Girardi said. “They both can put a lot of pressure on a pitcher when they’re on the basepaths, and their ability to go from first to third or first to home on a number of base hits.”