Free-agent catcher James McCann is heading to Queens in 2021. The two sides have reportedly agreed on a four-year, $40 million contract.
James McCann and the New York Mets have agreed on a four-year, $40 million deal.
Catcher James McCann and the New York Mets are finalizing a four-year contract for $40 million-plus, sources tell ESPN. After a long back-and-forth where a deal looked tenuous, the sides found detente and the Mets have their catcher. @Ken_Rosenthal was on the deal.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2020
The Mets, long rumored to be involved in the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes, now have their catcher. Newly minted team owner Steve Cohen has his first official major signing in the books, and the ballclub can now turn its attention towards other major free agents such as Trevor Bauer and George Springer.
The now-former Chicago White Sox backup to Yasmani Grandal didn’t see much playing time in 2020. But in 97 at-bats, he slashed .289/.360/.536 for an OPS of .896.
In 2019, McCann’s last full season of action, he came into his own offensively. He earned his first All-Star nod and slashed .273/.328/.460 en route to an OPS+ of 108, the first above-average OPS+ of his career. He improved his hard-hit rate to 44.2% and average exit velocity to 90.2 miles per hour. However, his strikeout rate remained high at 28.8%.
Defensively, McCann is nothing to write home about. His pop time and arm strength are unimpressive, and his framing has been well below average for the majority of his career. He developed in 2020, but with such a small sample size of 31 games, it’s simply not possible to earmark those stats as reliable improvements.
McCann is a solid addition to the Mets. He’ll provide offense from a position the team hasn’t received much from in recent years. Mets fans may have preferred their new owner go after Realmuto instead, but McCann is more than capable of producing for this lineup.
And with a catcher in tow, the Mets can now turn their full attention towards Springer. If he joins McCann in Queens, the Mets can start to make some serious noise in a tough National League East division.