MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Saturday that the sides James McCann and the Mets reached an agreement on a four-deal worth just more than $40 million. The Mets have not confirmed the deal.
McCann, 30, was viewed as the second-best free agent catcher on the market behind J.T. Realmuto, and the Mets had been targeting McCann over Realmuto.
In 149 games spanning 2019 and 2020, McCann has slashed .276/.334/.474 with 25 HR in 149 games. His exit velocity was 90.2 in 2019 and 90.5 in 2020. His hard hit rate was also up in 2020, to 47.8 (it was 44.2 in 2019). His xSLG in 2020 was .455.
McCann has also posted positive metrics behind the plate the past two seasons, including 9 defensive runs saved. He has made significant improvements to his pitch framing, which was an area of issue throughout former Mets catcher Wilson Ramos’ tenure with the team.
McCann has been especially tied to the development of Lucas Giolito from having the worst ERA in a season into the ace of the White Sox rotation. Giolito also threw his first no-hitter last season with McCann behind the plate. White Sox fans should be worried about the impact of McCann’s departure on Giolito.
In 192 games spanning 2019 and 2020, Realmuto has slashed .273/.333/.492 with 36 HR in 192 games. His exit velocity was 90.3 in 2019 and 90.2 in 2020. His hard hit rate in 2020 was 42.4, up slightly from 41.1 in 2019. His xSLG in 2020 was .499.
Again, Realmuto’s full career resume is much more impressive than McCann’s and he’s been the better power hitter over the last two seasons. But these numbers are close enough to see immense value in choosing McCann over Realmuto when taking into account the huge difference between the contract McCann is likely to get and the one Realmuto will ink.
Starting Pitching, Relief pitching and centerfield are still needed to fulfill the Mets Offseason Needs.
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