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Brian McCann, Yankees agree to deal, reports say

Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves hits a

Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves hits a double into deep right in the fifth inning against the Mets at Turner Field. (April 17, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The Yankees reached a deal to sign free agent catcher Brian McCann pending a physical, according to multiple reports.

Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is for five years, $85 million with a sixth year vesting option that could push the total value to $100 million.

McCann, 29, is a career .277 hitter with a .350 on-base percentage and .823 on-base plus slugging percentage. He's hit at least 20 home runs in seven of the last eight seasons. He's spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves.

The Yankees got precious little production at catcher last season, using Chris Stewart -- a career backup who hit .211 with four home runs -- as their primary starter. Francisco Cervelli (.269, 3 HR), who was injured just a month into the season and then was suspended as part of the Biogenesis investigation, and Austin Romine (.207, 1 HR) also saw time behind the plate.

MLB catchers averaged a .698 OPS in 2013, but Yankees backstops produced just a .587 OPS, 26th in the majors.

McCann hit .230 with a .300 OBP during an injury-plagued 2012 for the Braves, but rebounded last season for a .796 OPS.

The Yankees have publicly stated an attempt to lower their payroll beneath the $189 million luxury tax threshold, a number that would produce big savings for the team. But even after losing Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte to retirement and possibly losing free agents such as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Curtis Granderson, the payroll figure is complicated by Alex Rodriguez's ongoing saga with Major League Baseball, as he fights a 211-game ban for alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs as part of the Biogenesis case.

A McCann signing complicates the future of Yankees catching prospects Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy and Romine, who could now be used as trade bait as the Yankees look to fill other holes.

New York Sports