Catcher is one of baseball’s most important position. They have to call a ballgame, prevent base stealers, field a very difficult position, and still hit four or five times per game. It’s incredibly demanding, and that’s why truly great backstops often earn their payday. Both the New York Yankees and Mets could be looking for a catcher this offseason.
The Mets have more of an obligation to add one, since they declined to pick up Wilson Ramos’ option for 2021. Tomas Nido is atop the catcher depth chart for the Mets, and that’s why they are fully expected to go after the big fish in the position, J.T. Realmuto. However, James McCann is widely regarded as the second best backstop of the 2020-2021 free agent class, and rightfully so.
The Mets are also considering McCann as an addition in this market. If they get him instead of Realmuto, they would, theoretically, increase their chances to add one between center fielder George Springer and star pitcher Trevor Bauer.
The Yankees, though, are also in the mix. Unlike the Mets, they have a couple of starting-caliber catchers in Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka. The former is known for his bat and offensive potential despite a mediocre 2020 season, and the latter falls short of that talent with the bat but makes it up with the glove and defensive work behind the plate.
Will the Yankees address the catcher position?
Nevertheless, the Yankees could address the catching position by adding McCann. After all, they said they would be willing to listen to offers on Sanchez, but his trade value has suffered a severe hit.
McCann’s market is heating up. He’s, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, drawing interest from the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Angels.
McCann backed up Yasmani Grandal in 2020, but played much more than a traditional backup and is seen as a starter by other teams.
The 30-year-old spent the past two years with the White Sox and put together the best campaign of his career in 2020 after being named to the American League All-Star team the season prior.
McCann is a good target for the Yankees and Mets because he’s good with the bat (seven homers, .536 slugging and 144 OPS+ in 111 plate appearances in 2020) and behind the dish (nine defensive runs saved at catcher with Chicago while throwing out 32% of would-be base-stealers in the last two years.)