2:40pm: The Braves have officially announced that McCann will receive a qualifying offer.
9:05am: The Braves will extend a qualifying offer to catcher Brian McCann, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned (Twitter link). The move doesn't come as a surprise, as McCann figures to be one of the top free agents available on the market this offseason and has no reason to consider accepting a one-year, $14.1MM offer.
McCann, who turns 30 in February, returned from injury to bat .256/.336/.461 with 20 homers in just 402 plate appearances -- his sixth straight season of 20+ homers. Power such as McCann's is rare for a catcher, and his .277/.350/.473 career batting line is a testament to his offensive prowess.
In his free agent profile for McCann, Tim predicted that an American League team would be comfortable going to five years and $80MM for McCann. By wins above replacement, McCann has likely justified that commitment, averaging 3.0 rWAR and 3.8 fWAR over the past six seasons despite a pair of injury-shortened campaigns. A move to the AL, where he could see some time at DH, could allow him to play in more games.
Assuming McCann turns down the qualifying offer, any new team looking to sign him would have to punt a top draft pick. The first 11 picks are protected in this year's draft, meaning those teams would have to forfeit a second-round selection. All other teams would be required to sacrifice a first-round pick. Should he reject the offer and sign with a new club, as many expect, the Braves would receive a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round.