James McCann – C
The White Sox elected to sign Yasmani Grandal to a four-year $73 million-dollar contract last offseason, despite having James McCann on their roster. Despite only having 97 at-bats in 2020, McCann slashed .289/.360/.536 with seven home runs and 15 RBI. The Mets catcher, Wilson Ramos, slashed .239/.297/.387 in 142 at-bats with five home runs and 15 RBI. In 45 fewer at-bats, McCann hit more home runs and had only six fewer hits than the “offensive-minded catcher” Wilson Ramos.
We all know the prized catcher in free agency is the best catcher in baseball, J.T. Realmuto. While I think it’s worth checking in on him, I prefer the Mets go out and sign Trevor Bauer and McCann, instead of Realmuto and some middle of the pack pitcher like a Corey Kluber. While I do expect Steve Cohen to spend a lot of money, it’s unrealistic to say he will sign every top free agent.
James McCann is more than capable of being a starting catcher in this league. In his most recent year as a starter, 2019, he was an all-star and slashed .273/.328/.460 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI. Prior to that offensive breakout, McCann was known more for his defense behind the plate. Signing McCann would be an upgrade over Ramos in every way possible.
I think if the Mets can get McCann on a two or three-year deal at around 10-12 million dollars a year, I think that’d be a big win. The Mets top prospect, Francisco Alvarez, is a catcher and has an MLB ETA of 2023 according to mlb.com. Signing McCann as a starter until Alvarez is ready would be great.
Also, it’s hard to predict when catchers will break down. Realmuto is great now, but he is also 29 years old. He will get at least five years in free agency, and he most likely won’t be playing at this level when he is 34 years old. McCann will not come with the same expectations or close to the same amount of money as Realmuto and might be a better value signing. He would slot in nicely at the bottom of the order and should produce fairly well. What we know for sure, is he will be the best catcher the Mets have had in quite some time.