5 Potential Landings Spots For Brian McCann This Winter
Looking at the Market for Brian McCann
Heading into the offseason, there will likely be a very large market for the services of Brian McCann, who is the undoubted prize of the catchers on the free agent market. A number of teams will be after the 29-year-old catcher's services, and for good reason, considering his long time success and good outlook for the future.
Since being called up by the Atlanta Braves midway through the 2005 season, McCann has been an absolute force behind the plate, combining to put up a statistical line of .277/.350/.473 with 176 home runs, 227 doubles, and 661 RBI. Throughout this time, the catcher has been arguably the most consistent catcher in terms of hitting, and has been rewarded for it with five Silver Slugger awards.
On the defensive side of the ball, McCann has been slightly above average in terms of metric values, clocking in at a 4.8 dWAR during his career. In fact, to further illustrate this positive defensive impact throughout his career, one must only look at the fact that his dWAR has been above 0.0 in each season of his career, indicating that at no point has he been below average.
To add onto what the individual metrics show, it is easy to see that the catcher has had a positive impact on his team's statistical output, as since 2009, the Braves have posted a team ERA of 3.57 or below. While this does not all come down to the catcher, pitcher and catcher, relations certainly have a huge impact on the way teams go against batters, and in turn, how successful a pitching staff is. In this regard, there is no doubting that McCann has been an utter success, and only adds to his total value.
It appears as if McCann will look to turn this consistent output and ability to manage a pitching staff into a deal in the range of five years and $80 million. For a catcher that is in the prime of his career, at only 29 years old, this could only be the start of negotiations and lead to multiple teams driving up his price tag even further. With this in mind, we have taken a look at the five teams that are the most likely destinations for the catcher's services this offseason.
5.Los Angeles Angels
Owner Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles Angels signed C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols to massive contracts in recent seasons. Despite these big name signings, the Angels have not made the playoffs since 2009, in large part due to sub par pitching and leadership issues. While McCann would not be able to take the mound, he would provide a steady hand behind the plate to help guide a pitching staff that had a 4.23 ERA. In addition to this, he would be a major improvement over Hank Conger and Chris Iannetta, making the two look like a perfect fit. Whether this turns into the two agreeing to a contract is undecided, but it has been made clear that the Angels are interesting in making sure it does.
4.Toronto Blue Jays
With $120 million already committed for the 2014 season, it is clear that the Toronto Blue Jays are willing to spend their way into contention. But one area that the team failed to address in spending this massive sum is catcher, where J.P. Arencibia played 131 games in 2013 and put up a statistical line of .194/.235/.348. It is suffice to say that this is a simply inexcusable total and leaves much to be desired. Signing McCann would fill this desire on the offensive side of the ball and likely help guide a pitching staff that put up a surprisingly high 4.25 ERA in 2013.
3.Boston Red Sox
After winning the 2013 World Series with Jarrod Saltalammachia leading the way behind the plate, to great effect it would seem that the Boston Red Sox would be set at the position of catcher. But it would appear that conventional wisdom will not be playing itself out in this situation, as the catcher was not offered a qualifying offer and will not cost Boston any compensation if he signs somewhere else as a result. While this does not automatically rule out a return, reported interest in acquiring McCann's services could seal the deal. From Boston's perspective, this change does make sense, as McCann is slightly better offensively and substantially better defensively than Saltalammachia.
Since the 2013 season ended, the Texas Rangers have let veteran A.J. Pierzynski walk and re-signed backup Geovany Soto as the team's newly minted starter behind the plate. Doing this will not necessarily take out any chances of signing McCann though, and in fact, it could even make it more likely. This is because some believe that McCann's true future is not behind the plate as an everyday catcher, but as a backup who primarily serves as a designated hitter. Playing out in Texas would likely only exasperate this issue because of the demanding conditions throughout the summer, and makes the Rangers signing of Soto look like a precursor to making a hard run at McCann.
1.New York Yankees
As is the case nearly every offseason, the New York Yankees are expected to be big players in the free agent market. Chief amongst the team's priorities this offseason is signing a new catcher, as Chris Stewart and Austin Romine were absolutely brutal in 2013. Like usual, the Yankees will go after the top option on the market, which in this case is McCann. Expect New York to go after his services with vigor, offering the highest contract of any team in search of gaining a long term fix behind the plate.