New York Mets: Team is in “active talks” with free agent catcher James McCann

New York Yankees, Yankees, James McCann
Sep 26, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher James McCann (33) reacts after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets have been, without a doubt, one of the most active clubs in this offseason. Ever since new owner Steve Cohen came to town, he expressed his desire of putting together a very competitive team, and president Sandy Alderson, who is now in charge of baseball decisions, has said similar things.

This week, the New York Mets added their first free agent signing of the winter, securing the services of right-handed reliever Trevor May on a two-year contract worth $15.5 million. Now, the club could be nearing a second high-profile addition.

According to Robert Murray of FanSided, the Mets are “in active talks” with free agent catcher James McCann. As you can remember, the team decided not to take Wilson Ramos’ club option for 2021, and instead chose to pay him a buyout to make him a free agent. The Mets need a starting catcher, and that way, Tomas Nido, who is currently at the top of the depth chart, would return to his more natural backup duties.

The Mets have long been connected with the best backstop in the market, J.T. Realmuto, but he is supposed to be seeking a $200 million payday. It is possible that Cohen and Alderson find that number excessive, and they have been zeroing in on McCann, who had a very good 2020 (and 2019, to be fair) with the Chicago White Sox.

The Mets are not yet close to a deal, but they are moving forward

To be clear, Murray adds that a “deal is not close” but also that “it is looking increasingly likely he will land a four-year deal.” The assumption, then, is that the ongoing negotiations with the Mets are very serious and they could be on the way of a deal.

A member of the 2019 All-Star team, McCann had a .808 OPS with 25 home runs and 75 RBI in 149 games over the last two years with the Pale Hose. He is 30 years old and is viewed as a strong defensive catcher, as well. He would be a clear upgrade over Ramos.

In the abbreviated 2020 season, McCann had a career-high 90.5 mph of average exit velocity and a 47.8 hard-hit rate, somewhat validating what he has done in the last two years and essentially becoming a two-way player capable of contributing at the plate and behind it.