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MLB Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Catcher Brian McCann Has Been Awesome In Contract Year

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

This year, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann has been, in a word, awesome.

While he’s currently nursing a sore right knee that has caused him to miss the last two games, and he was forced to sit out the first month-plus of the season following offseason shoulder surgery, the importance of McCann’s production cannot be stated enough, especially given the fact that he will be a free agent at season’s end and has had rookie sensation Evan Gattis breathing down his neck all year.

In just 72 games, McCann has batted .277 with 17 home runs, which is third on the team behind left fielder Justin Upton‘s 22 and second baseman Dan Uggla‘s 21, while also knocking in 45 runs.

In the process, the 29-year-old backstop has continued to show why he will draw interest from several teams when he enters free agency following the season, but also why the Braves would be foolish to not do all that they can to bring the seven-time All-Star back for more years with his hometown team.

That may or may not happen, depending on whether McCann is willing to take less money to stay in Atlanta, but one thing is for sure: he deserves to continue serving as the club’s starting catcher for as long as he’s able.

Despite the fact that the St. Louis CardinalsYadier Molina and the San Francisco GiantsBuster Posey have likely surpassed McCann as the top two catchers in MLB, the lefty-hitting slugger is still among the game’s best and is certainly one of, if not the best catchers in franchise history.

McCann is to this Braves club what Chipper Jones was before him, and general manager Frank Wren would be wise to remember that when free agency rolls around this offseason.

Josh McKinney is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.