The New York Yankees desperately needed a catcher, so the club went out and got one in the early stages of free agency.  And the team paid a pretty penny for him.  Multiple reports have highlighted the Yankees’ signing of former Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann to a 5-year, $85 million contract that contains a 6th year vesting option that could turn the contract into a deal worth a total of $100 million.  The terms also stipulate that the Yankees cannot trade McCann without his permission.

B.B. Abbott with Chipper Jones.
Baseball agent B.B. Abbott with Chipper Jones.

Brian McCann is represented by B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management — one of the most powerful agents in baseball.  On April 30, Abbott told Sports Agent Blog that his path to representing baseball players was through growing up with Chipper Jones.  “I owe this all to him,” said Abbott.  “After practicing law with Foley and Lardner (who represents MLB) for four years, Chipper and I decided to go down this path, and I started representing him in 1999.  I slowly built my firm through the draft, brought on two outstanding scouts as partners and we were on our way.”  This year, Abbott and his team advised No. 20 overall pick Jonathan Crawford (RHP, Florida) selected by the Detroit Tigers.

But Abbott’s success in the MLB Draft does not compare to the victory he is celebrating with the signing of McCann to the Yankees.  The signing brought me back to a statement McCann’s agent made in 2009 in response to a question asking how he counsel’s a client regarding long-term deals that may take him out of his valuable arbitration years and early free agency.

“[T]he agent ultimately is bound to follow the direction of the client. It is my job to show any talented young player what he is potentially giving up by signing a longer term deal.

With Brian [McCann], I showed him what he would potentially be giving up and it was a significant sum of money. If my only focus was to get him the most money possible, this deal would have made no sense. But Brian was coming off of a injury that could have been career threatening in another scenario, and this deal allowed him to be set for life by the age of 29. He knew when he signed this that he would possibly be leaving millions of dollars on the table. But, he loved the city and the team, and he wanted to secure his future. He accomplished his goals, and like I said, it made him happy. It allowed him to focus on his game and improving himself as a baseball player. We always talk about the effect (mentally) that this deal had on his game. We firmly believe that it allowed him to relax and be who he is on the field.”

If McCann was already set for life, then what will another $85-100 million mean for the catcher?  And what about the excellent foreshadowing by Abbott?  McCann appears to have conquered his trade and is now reaping the rewards of same.  Kudos to agent and client.