Why James McCann is a trade candidate and where he could go

Sep 23, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; New York Mets catcher James McCann (33) before the game
Sep 23, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; New York Mets catcher James McCann (33) before the game / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

I will be the first person to admit that I thought two offseasons ago that the New York Mets signing then free-agent catcher James McCann to a four-year $40 million contract was one of the best moves they could have made at the time, despite J.T. Realmuto also being on the open market. Halfway into McCann's contract, the results have been disappointing with his lack of offensive productivity being a huge reason why many Mets fans may be calling for a new starting catcher in 2023.

It's not like the Mets lack options at the catching position right now as Tomas Nido has proven to be a solid option behind the plate, and also currently waiting in the wings is catching phenom Francisco Alvarez who could be ready to take over the starting reigns as soon as Opening Day. While McCann defensively has been solid for the Mets during his time in Queens, it's become apparent that his spot in the lineup has become a glaring hole. In 182 games as a member of the Mets, McCann is hitting a rough .220/.282/.328 slash line and his -0.1 WAR last season were unsightly.

Mets catcher James McCann is a prime change of scenery trade candidate this offseason

It may be best for General Manager Billy Eppler to start to explore other options this offseason regarding the 32-year-old backstop, especially if the Mets are willing to eat a portion of the remaining $23.3 million on McCann's contract to make a potential trade work. While many teams would be buying low on McCann's value, the Mets could get something of value in return depending on how much money they would be willing to eat, or they could explore swapping McCann's contract with another bad contract and call it even. For a team looking for multiple arms this offseason, leveraging McCann as potential trade bait could work in their benefit.

One team that intrigues me as a potential landing spot in a trade for McCann this winter would be the St. Louis Cardinals. It's widely known around baseball that the Cardinals will be shopping for a new starting catcher after Yadier Molina's retirement this offseason, and depending on whether the Cardinals enter the Willson Contreras sweepstakes, McCann could be an alternative option should they miss out.

In regards to a possible one for one bad contract swap, Rising Apple's own Tim Boyle had also suggested earlier this offseason that the Mets should make a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. An intriguing idea that Tim had also mentioned this offseason included theMets swapping James McCann's contract in exchange for former Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz.

It certainly is a very fascinating possibility depending on how the offseason begins to shake out for the Mets as they are looking to rebuild both their starting rotation as well as their bullpen, and the 31-year-old Matz would fit nicely in a Trevor Williams-esque type of role. The Mets would also be on the hook for the $35.5 million owed to Matz over the next three seasons as well.

There's also the element of the bridge that has seemingly been burned between Mets Owner Steve Cohen and Matz's agent Rob Martin after Matz spurned the Mets for the Cardinals last winter, but that's another juicy storyline for another day if we ever make it to that point. I doubt that would affect any potential trade between both organizations, but it would be a storyline to monitor should the organization pursue a homecoming with the former Mets southpaw.

However, if the Mets choose to sweeten their offer to the Cardinals they could also attach a mid-level prospect to any potential deal in order to get a better value in return if they choose not to solely swap bad contracts and solely bring back Steven Matz.

Similarly to last offseason, the Mets will have the attention of everyone around baseball this winter in regards to which moves they do and do not make. They will certainly have options if they choose to move McCann in the coming months, and I would put the St. Louis Cardinals as one of the top potential suitors this winter should they decide to move forward with a tandem of Tomas Nido and Francisco Alvarez behind the plate.

New York Mets should sign Jose Abreu and use him at designated hitter. dark. Next