According to multiple reports, the Mets and catcher James McCann have agreed to a four year deal in the $40 million range. Talks had been gaining steam between the two sides since the winter meetings began. The Mets’ pursuit of McCann had been classified as intense for a week or so now and after a somewhat lengthy back-and-forth process, a deal is finally in place.
When the talks began to intensify last week, our Vasilis Drimalitis summed up McCann’s pre-Mets career nicely:
The 30-year-old backstop began his career with the Tigers and was unremarkable, slashing .240/.288/.366 with a 75 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR over the course of five season. He was non-tendered by Detroit and found a home with the White Sox on a one-year deal in 2019. He blossomed that following season, hitting .273/.328/.460 with a career-high 18 home runs, a 109 wRC+, and a 2.3 fWAR in 118 games. That was good enough to get him selected to his first All Star game. He followed that up by hitting .289/.360/.536 with a career-best 144 wRC+ and a 1.5 fWAR in 31 games last year.
With McCann on board, the Mets have addressed their most pressing offseason need, after declining Wilson Ramos’s team option for 2021. The Mets’ non-pursuit of J.T. Realmuto seems strange, given the consensus opinion of Realmuto being not just the best catcher on the market, but the class of the free agent market overall. With Steve Cohen’s deep pockets, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Mets would be in on Realmuto.
Unlike in years past, this move suggests that there are baseball reasons, not financial limitations, to explain the Mets’ pursuit of McCann. The Mets will have plenty of time to fill their fanbase in on those reasons once the signing is official.