After the team made their first big signing of the offseason by reeling in reliever Trevor May, the Mets are said to be in talks with free agent catcher James McCann, according to league sources cited by Robert Murray. Jon Heyman added that the Mets are making a serious push for McCann, who has several suitors.
The Mets, who declined the team option on Wilson Ramos back in October, entered the offseason in desperate need of a catcher. McCann is widely considered as the best alternative option to J.T. Realmuto, who is the big free agent prize this winter and could command a five or six-year deal worth north of $20 million annually. McCann, according to Murray, is looking for a four-year contract.
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.
While McCann is not quite in Realmuto’s league, he would be a solid consolation prize and more cost-effective then Realmuto, and the Mets have seemed to be focusing more on him as a result. McCann’s offensive numbers have been on the rise the past two seasons, and his pitch framing and defensive abilities behind the plate have been steadily improving as well. Murray clarified that a deal is not close yet, but this seems worth watching with the winter meetings coming up.