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Saturday, December 12, 2020

New York Mets, catcher James McCann finalizing four-year deal, sources say

Catcher James McCann and the New York Mets are finalizing a four-year contract for $40 million-plus, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The Athletic first reported the sides were close to a deal.

McCann, 30, shared catching duties last season with Yasmani Grandal, whose deal with the Chicago White Sox last offseason averaged $18.3 million per season—a record in free agency for a catcher.

McCann had a career-high .289 batting average with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games during the pandemic-shortened season, cutting down on his strikeout rate after a career-worst 137 strikeouts in 2019. Despite the Grandal deal (four years, $73 million), McCann stayed with the White Sox, avoiding arbitration by reaching a one-year, $5.4 million deal that more than doubled his salary from 2018.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 01:25 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: james mccann, mets

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: December 12, 2020 at 02:01 PM (#5993803)
I don't think it's bad, but why not engage with Realmuto first and see what he wants?
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: December 12, 2020 at 02:26 PM (#5993805)
You think they didn’t?
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: December 12, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5993807)
they weren't getting Realmuto AND Bauer AND Springer - even with Cohen's money.

Mets have a stud C prospect who is 2-3 years away, and McCann gets a 4-year deal. nonzero chance he matches Realmuto's production - and for what, half the price?, he doesn't have to do that.

works for me.
   4. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: December 12, 2020 at 03:04 PM (#5993809)
Not a fan of this.
   5. asinwreck Posted: December 12, 2020 at 03:16 PM (#5993812)
The one clear success of Rick Hahn's generally inept bargain shopping hits the big time.
   6. TJ Posted: December 12, 2020 at 03:19 PM (#5993813)
As a big McCann fan while he was here in Detroit, I’m happy he has scored a nice deal from the Mets. My favorite McCann memory as a Tiger was a game against the Royals. Alex Rios was on second base and McCann thought he was stealing signs. McCann called time, walked out to the mound, and just glared at Rios. McCann didn’t say a word, just glared. You could see Rios just melt under that glare. When he obviously did, McCann just turned around and went back behind the plate...

That was a seriously badass moment.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 03:30 PM (#5993815)
Baffling. $40M for a 31 y.o. C with an 86 career OPS+? You're counting on 111 great PA? His Steamer proj. in an 80 wRC+.

Dude can't hit RHP AT ALL.
   8. The Duke Posted: December 12, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5993819)
Your new New York Mets. Same as the old Mets. Not sure I see the point of this move. Large dollars for average-y players is how you build payroll inflexibility, and I don’t believe the Cohen is going to spend mantra.
   9. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 12, 2020 at 04:38 PM (#5993820)
This is a small amount of money for a player who has been quite good for the past two seasons. At $10m/year he only needs to be worth a bit above 1 WAR. They're not even paying him like an average player. Probably smart, since he's an over-30 catcher, but in addition to playing well last year he had 476 solid PA the year before (along with an all-star selection). I'm pro this deal. I think there's a fair chance he's worth the money, and even if he's not, $10m/yr to fill the C slot is not going to cripple the New York Mets.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 05:26 PM (#5993823)
This is a small amount of money for a player who has been quite good for the past two seasons. At $10m/year he only needs to be worth a bit above 1 WAR.

I don't think ANY team is willing to pay $10M/win today. That estimate has to come way down.

Also, he was quite good for one season and a month. Before that he averaged 0.6 WAR per season.

and even if he's not, $10m/yr to fill the C slot is not going to cripple the New York Mets.

There's a good chance he doesn't even fill the spot. Before 2019 McCann was hopeless vs RHP. Career 70 wRC+ vs RHP, 124 vs LHP. If he reverts to form, he'll be a $10M backup.
   11. salvomania Posted: December 12, 2020 at 05:35 PM (#5993825)
May 3, 2019: Released by the New York Mets.

May 10, 2019 through September 2020:
550 PA, 493 AB, 25 hr, 101 rbi, .282/.344/.483

And he's signed for $2M less for 2021 than McCann is rumored to be getting.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2020 at 05:41 PM (#5993826)
A classic "who were they bidding against?" signing. Four years for this guy? Hand, Schwarber, Rosario can't get 1/$10 (and I agree on at least the latter two); Santana got 2/$15 (and I think that might be a bit of an "overpay"); and the Mets step forward with a deal I would have questioned last year. It looks like a very poor reading of the market. On to some comps if I can find any:

Chirinos is too old to be a direct comp but FA in 2018 and again in 2019, deals for 1/<$6, the second one coming off a 3.8 WAR year. The Red Sox bought out Vazquez's first FA year for $6, have a $7 M option on the next. Salvador Perez's probably unwise extension was 3/$40. Jason Castro, 4 years ago, turning 30, got 3/$25; last year he got 1/$7. The Mets gave 31-yo Wilson Ramos 2/$19 in 2019. 32-yo Yan Gomes got 2/$10 just last year.

Solid Cs don't get 4/$40 deals. Maybe McCann has turned the corner but as a C turning 31, he's very likely to be turning another corner into a bad neighborhood in the next 2-3 seasons. About the best thing you can say about him is that as a late starter (like many Cs) and not a heavily-used starter, he's still below 550 starts for his career so he may not be as "old" as your typical 31-yo FA "starting" C. But even that is about where Gomes was when the Nats got him for 2/$10.

4/$40, in isolation, isn't gonna kill anybody and he should at least be able to survive as a good mentor, half-time/backup for a young guy in years 3 and 4. But it sure looks well above market and the Duke's not wrong that if you pile up a bunch of these deals, you get bogged down quick.

As to #9: that's true up to a point but we don't have a clear idea what $/WAR is post-covid. Even pre-covid, there are deals that might end up being "worth it" in $/WAR that are still above-market. Again, Eddie Rosario will almost certainly be worth more than 1 WAR next year yet nobody wanted him at 1/$10. At similar ages and equal/better recent production, Castro, Ramos and Gomes all got substantially less than this. No matter how much you like that prize bull up for auction, there's no reason you need to bid 30% more than anybody else.

Dude can't hit RHP AT ALL.

This has been the key to his potential transformation -- he has hit them just fine for 2019-20. That's only about 1/4 of his total PA vs RHP so could be just a fluke. But could be a launch angle thing as the change is mostly HR (19 in 400 PA vs 17 in the first 1200).
   13. asinwreck Posted: December 12, 2020 at 06:00 PM (#5993828)
The Angels were in on McCann, and Jon Heyman speculated that Dave Dombrowski had interest in his old catcher as a Realmuto fallback option. He had a lot of suitors, suggesting the metrics teams are using to evaluate catchers are favorable to McCann.

Seeing what catchers get this offseason will be interesting. After Realmuto and McCann, who'd get the third-largest contract?
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: December 12, 2020 at 07:36 PM (#5993837)
it's not at all unusual for catchers to develop power relatively late in their careers (even age 35+ is surprisingly common).

some speculation is that it takes many years to figure out how to mitigate the physical pounding behind the plate. that leaves for a fresher second-half bat.

also, McCann has never been a "rode hard, and put away wet" catcher so a little more tread left on this tire at thsi age.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2020 at 07:53 PM (#5993839)
I didn't mean to suggest nobody else wanted McCann (a good player) but who else was willing to go 3/$30? Linked article says the Angels maxed out at 3 years but doesn't mention $. 4/$40 vs 3/$30 is a 33% boost. If you like the guy, offer him 3/$33 (or 3/$30 with an option for $10 with a $3 M buyout). Linked article also has some of the framing metrics which suggest he was quite good in 2020 but not 2019. Anyway, if it turns out to be something like 4/$40 but half the money is deferred or other stuff that brings the NPV substantially back towards 3/$30 then no harm done.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 09:09 PM (#5993853)
This has been the key to his potential transformation -- he has hit them just fine for 2019-20.

Well, a 100 wRC+, and it took him a 350 BABIP to do that in 2019.
   17. TJ Posted: December 12, 2020 at 10:41 PM (#5993860)
I would suggest paying little attention to McCann’s Detroit stats. They were always dicking around with his stance and approach. He came up as a line drive, hit between the alleys hitter. The Tigers, in their infinite wisdom, were not content with that and kept changing his stance every spring. By the time they released him, McCann couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. In Chicago, the White Sox told him to just hit in whatever way felt natural, and McCann went back to his original approach augmented with a slight increase in power that one would expect with age and experience.

I expect McCann to hit .270ish (depending on luck with balls in play) with low double digit home runs and good defense. He will give the team some leadership and work well with their pitchers. I will leave that up to you all as if that would be worth $10 million a year.
   18. Adam Starblind Posted: December 12, 2020 at 11:34 PM (#5993874)
. I didn't mean to suggest nobody else wanted McCann (a good player) but who else was willing to go 3/$30?


We don’t have that information.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2020 at 12:29 AM (#5993876)
We don’t have that information.

Gosh, really. I'd never noticed. What about the information as to what McCann's production for 2021-24 is actually going to be? That would be really handy.

To pretend that we can't look at Jason Castro getting 3/$25 and Ramos getting 2/$19 and Gomes getting 2/$10 and from that conclude with reasonable confidence that the general consensus around baseball, BEFORE COVID REVNUE COLLAPSE, was that Cs of this quality, age, etc. weren't worth 3/$30 much less 4/$40 is silly and counter-productive.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2020 at 01:25 AM (#5993878)
FWIW, many ZiPS projections are up, including the White Sox. McCann is projected to 1.3 zWAR in 424 PA (his career high is 476 so that is reasonable). 244/304/404, 92 OPS+. You can also find 3-year ZiPS projections on fangraphs although this don't seem to be ready yet so I assume the 2021 and 2022 projections for McCann are from pre-2020 but he was projected to 1.2 and 1.0 zWAR in slightly fewer PAs so the projection doesn't seem to have improved much if at all.

For comparison, among some selected Cs projected so far

Grandal 3.6 (2nd year of 4/$72)
Maldonado 1.0 (2nd year of 2/$7)
R Perez 1.2 ($5.5 + $7 option at end of buyout)
Stassi 0.9 (2nd year arb)
Sanchez 1.1
Murphy/Allen (Oak) 1.9/1.3
S Perez 2.6 (1/$14 left)
Kirk/Janssen (Tor) 1.8/1.8
d'Arnaud 1.7 (got 2/$16 last year)
Flowers 1.0 (FA, made $14 over last 3)
Kelly 1.5
Barnhart 1.7 ($4.2 + $7.5 at end of buyout)
Maxwell (Mets) 1.0
Ramos (former Met) 0.9
Smith 3.3
Barnes 1.2 (2nd year arb)
Realmuto 4.1
Nola/Campusano (SD) 1.6/1.3
Gomes 1.6 (2/$10 last year)

You see anybody in there getting anything like 4/$40 with a projection substantially below 2.0? The going rate appears to be 2/$7 to 2/$20 (Ramos). It was a bit surprising for d'Arnaud (released by the Mets) to get the deal he did given his spotty track record so one could use him as a McCann comp to justify maybe 2/$20.

Possibly we'll see a Will Smith buyout but otherwise, at offseason's end, Realmuto and McCann will be the only Cs under guaranteed contract for 2024. I think Grandal is the only other one for 2023. (Posey ends this year assuming the Giants decline the $22 M option.)

And since my sanity is in question (understandable), let me assure you that I do realize that ZiPS projections are total gospel and you can take those projected 1.3 zWAR to the bank where, once you explain to them that each zWAR is worth $8 M, they will happily transfer those funds into your account minus a modest transaction fee.
   21. Adam Starblind Posted: December 13, 2020 at 05:58 AM (#5993880)
Walt, you said:

. A classic "who were they bidding against?" signing.


It’s been pointed out to you that there were multiple other teams, and it seems to have dawned on you that we don’t know what they were offering. Nice rant though, bro.
   22. The Duke Posted: December 13, 2020 at 10:00 AM (#5993883)
Yadier Molina is smiling today. If McCann is anywhere near that, then Yadis 2/20 request (supposedly) doesn’t seem that far off even given his age
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2020 at 10:49 AM (#5993886)
Yadier Molina is smiling today. If McCann is anywhere near that, then Yadis 2/20 request (supposedly) doesn’t seem that far off even given his age

Or the Mets are going to look like idiots when Realmuto signs for 3/45 and Yadi for 2/15.
   24. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 13, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5993892)
The $10 million doesn’t seem outrageous but four years? It seems like he figured something out in Chicago and his big 2019 was actually weighted to road games not home games so it doesn’t seem to be park effect. WIth that in mind he’s a good get and I’d expect him to be worth the $10 mil for a year or two. But it’s uncertain enough that I’d rather have given him 2/25 or 1/13 or something like that. I’d never go four years for a guy like this.
   25. John DiFool2 Posted: December 13, 2020 at 11:18 AM (#5993895)
No relation to Brian, weirdly enough.
   26. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 13, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5993898)
I'm sure the Phillies were bidding agianst them. All we were hearing about Realmuto was that we probably wouldn't sign Realmuto but it's OK because we could sign James McCann and Didi Gregorius and someone else for the same money. Now who's the next best catcher?
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5993902)
Now who's the next best catcher?

Molina.

Who's signing Realmuto then?

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