At some point this offseason, the majority of New York Mets fans seemed to turn their preference away from J.T. Realmuto and toward the man the team actually ended up signing, James McCann.
Before the offseason began, New York Mets fans were all-in for J.T. Realmuto. He has everything and more you want from a catcher. It was Realmuto or bust.
Then a funny thing happened. The offseason began and at some point interest in Realmuto changed. Instead, fans turned their heads toward James McCann—the only other catcher in free agency worth a big contract. McCann is the chosen catcher the team will go with, exciting the majority of fans.
But what happened to the love for Realmuto? Is it his injury this past year that has fans weary? I don’t think that’s it. The most common reasoning to go with McCann’s potentially superior defense is that signing him over Realmuto will provide the Mets with more money to spend elsewhere.
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Who’s our owner again? Isn’t this the $14 billion dollar hedge fund manager we swore would change things? The Mets shouldn’t have to look for bargains in any sense. Steve Cohen can afford it.
Logically, I understand where these people are coming from. If Cohen did spend over the luxury tax, it wouldn’t be by much. The Mets aren’t going to suddenly have a $400 million per year payroll. That’s just not logical and would hurt the game too much.
However, the difference between the contracts McCann and Realmuto get won’t be so outlandish that it would bankrupt the team and force them to move to Nashville. The best should easily afford to sign three of the top free agents this winter. Many fans have fallen into the trap of suddenly. Are we suffer from some sort of Wilpon PTSD?
I understand McCann is a good ballplayer. But in this atmosphere where fans only want the best players available, I am shocked to see so many use money as reasoning for why McCann is the better option. A lifetime .249 hitter with a .300 OBP is not something you typically see Mets fans get excited about.
McCann certainly was an interesting free agent candidate because of how his career is trending. With the Detroit Tigers, he was a defensively-sound backstop with a light bat. On the Chicago White Sox these past two seasons, he was one of the best offensive catchers in the game. Plus, he still played the position very well.
McCann seems to check off all of the boxes fans in Flushing want. He’s still not as good as Realmuto.
This isn’t a case of fans not wanting scraps from the Philadelphia Phillies. Realmuto was only there for two seasons. The only team Mets fans don’t like seeing on their roster are those that once suited up for the New York Yankees; as unreasonable of a request as that may be.
The Mets would have won whether they signed McCann or Realmuto. It’s good to see fans understand why McCann is good or at least acknowledge what others report about his defensive abilities. It shows the intelligence of this fanbase to look beyond just the basic numbers and how much Realmuto typically outperforms McCann.
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Personally, I would have preferred Realmuto in orange and blue over McCann. I won’t get my way, but there won’t be any tears. Let’s play ball.