My oh my, Mets fans have some exciting news in store! Not only is the team reuniting with lefty-specialist Jerry Blevins, the Mets finalized a four-year, $40 million deal with former White Sox catcher James McCann on Saturday.
The Mets were originally eyeing all-star J.T. Realmuto, but Realmuto was looking for a long-term contract at upwards of $200 million. Although he is the best offensive and defensive catcher in the league, it would be a very high price to pay for a player who is on the brink of his thirties.
The McCann signing should thrill fans. They are saving over $150 million, at least. Plus, the Mets are getting the second-best catcher available in the free agent market.
Ever since Mike Piazza left in 2005, the Mets have been lacking in the catcher department. We’ve had some strong offensive catchers and some strong defensive catchers but never both. Travis d’Arnaud plagued the Mets from 2013-2018 with terrible offence. He gave plenty of Mets fans high blood pressure and heartburn far too often. Wilson Ramos, also known as “The Buffalo”, caught for the Mets for the past two years. While he was a great offensive hitter, his defense was abysmal.
McCann is significantly better defensively than Ramos. He also has been working on his pitch framing, an area Ramos has severely struggled in. Offensively, McCann hit 18 home runs in 2019 and was even more productive in the shortened 2020 season.
The only point of concern for McCann is that he has always split time with another catcher. The most games he has played in a season is 118 games. Hopefully, McCann will be able to adjust to the workload. He has to accept the responsibility of being the starting catcher for the Mets.
It goes without saying that he will also have to adjust to playing in New York. Playing in New York is a whole different ball game (pun intended) than playing anywhere else. The pressure to succeed is huge thanks to the media and fans.
Although it is still very early in the long offseason, it is nice to start off with a bang. It will be nice to see if/when the Mets sign Springer and/or Bauer and potentially also trade for Cleveland’s shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Uncle Steve has already had a wonderful impact on this team and hopefully they can continue on their path for a 2021 World Series ring.