Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann may be a seven-time All-Star and cornerstone of the franchise’s resurgence. However, he is also going to be an unrestrictred free-agent at the end of the season and will most likely field very lucrative offers from other clubs. With so many financial obligations facing the Braves over the next two seasons, this may be the last time we see McCann in Atlanta.
Since his debut in 2005, McCann has been a foundation piece in the retooling process in Atlanta. While he hit just .256 this season and missed the first month due to shoulder surgery, his torrid July (he hit .337 with six home runs) almost single-handedly kept the Braves atop the NL.
Although those numbers fell back to Earth a bit, only Wilin Rosario of the Colorado Rockies and teammate Evan Gattis have hit more than McCann’s 20 home runs.
There are many reasons to keep McCann. He is the face of the Braves post-Chipper Jones. At 29 years old, he is now the veteran and clubhouse leader. In a league that doesn’t have many catchers that can hit for power, McCann is a valuable player.
However, that very fact is also why Atlanta will have a tough time keeping him. Teams with deeper pockets – the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, to name a couple – will throw tons of money in his direction. Atlanta will be hard-pressed to match those offers.
There are also other financial obligations that the Braves must deal with. Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel are all approaching arbitration and Atlanta is much more likely to spend their dollars on them. There is also the emergence of Gattis, who in addition to hitting more home runs than McCann, knocked in eight more RBIs in limited action.
Ideally, the Braves would love to keep this roster intact; this is a relatively young team that will continue to get better with experience. For all intents and purposes, they will. However, it may not be feasible to bring everyone back and McCann will unfortunately be the odd man out should that happen.