Brian McCann Rumors
The latest from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney...
- Brian McCann’s $12MM option for 2013 no longer seems as appealing as it once did, Olney writes. The Braves are working to address many offseason needs with a modest payroll and McCann's recent shoulder surgery was more extensive than expected. Olney points out that the Braves could attempt to negotiate a deal at a lower salary or exercise the option and trade McCann to a team such as the Rangers or Yankees. Of course the Braves could simply bring the catcher back for another season in the hopes that his shoulder recovers.
- Next year’s free agent class might be light on impact talent other than Robinson Cano, Olney writes. In general it probably doesn’t make sense to expect stacked free agent classes at a time that teams are locking up players to extensions that cover their prime years.
- Japanese pitching prospect Shohei Otani intends to pursue a career in MLB, and a number of teams are interested in the hard-throwing right-hander. The Red Sox and Rangers “have done the most work in this arena,” according to Olney.
The Yankees are not talking about a potential Alex Rodriguez trade with the Marlins, according to GM Brian Cashman. Cashman said Keith Olbermann’s report about trade talks is "not true," according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. It’d be an unusual time to discuss a trade, as the Yankees are still in the playoffs and the Marlins have uncertainty in their front office. On to today’s links...
- Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Jim Thome "did a nice job" in Baltimore and "added a real veteran presence,” Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. Thome sounds undecided about his next step, but he could re-sign with Baltimore this coming offseason. Making room for him on the roster could require some creativity on the part of Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
- Baseball executives Brian Sabean (Giants GM), Dan O'Dowd (Rockies GM) and J.P. Ricciardi (Mets special assistant) agree that Marco Scutaro is a talented played with toughness, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Giants infielder stayed in the game to deliver a key hit after being knocked down by Matt Holliday’s overly aggressive slide in the second game of the NLCS.
- Brian McCann could miss the beginning of the 2013 season to recover from shoulder surgery, so the $12MM club option on his contract presents the Braves with a quandary, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. McCann doesn’t have much to worry about in Olney’s estimation. Either the Braves bring the 28-year-old back or he hits free agency and draws interest from many teams, especially AL clubs looking at him as a catcher/DH.
- It's too soon to know if the Braves will pick up the option, but MLB.com's Mark Bowman would guess that McCann will be back.
Braves catcher Brian McCann underwent shoulder surgery today and, due to a larger-than-expected tear of his labrum, will be out of action for 4-6 months according to a team press release (passed on MLB.com's Mark Bowman). McCann is expected to resume light baseball activities by mid-February and full activities by mid-April, so it seems likely that the six-time All-Star will miss at least the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season.
The Braves have until three days after the World Series to decide about exercising McCann's $12MM team option for 2013, or they could buy the catcher out for $500K. The option was thought to be a foregone conclusion despite McCann's career-worst .230/.300/.399 slash line in 487 plate appearances given McCann's track record, the Braves' lack of other catching options and the belief that the surgery would correct the issues that hampered McCann's performance.
I'd argue that Atlanta is still likely to pick up the option for these reasons, though McCann's chances of receiving a multiyear extension beyond 2013 are very questionable. The added uncertainty about McCann's health may also cause the team to look for a stable backup option this winter. There is mutual interest between the Braves and long-time backup David Ross, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but the team doesn't see Ross as a viable everyday solution should McCann be forced to miss an extended period of time. Ross, a free agent, has a .816 OPS in 663 plate appearances for the Braves over the last four seasons.
It has been a tough year for the Mets and it doesn't seem like the club is in position to back up a Brink's truck to reload in 2013. Recently, it was reported that General Manager Sandy Alderson will basically working with the same payroll next year with the lid being in the neighborhood of $90MM. Here's more out of Queens and other items from the National League East..
- Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said that he expects David Wright to be with the team for the future at a Q&A session for season ticket holders, tweets Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com. Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter) notes that it takes two to tango, however, and the question isn't whether the Mets want Wright back.
- During that same gathering, Alderson also said he expects R.A. Dickey to be with the Mets "long-term," writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Dickey and Wright have options for 2013 that will be exercised by the club, but Alderson will not wait until the pair hit free agency to negotiate. "It's not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013," the GM explained.
- The Red Sox-Dodgers blockbuster underscores the tough situation that the Mets are currently facing, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman wonders why the Mets never looked at the Dodgers' need at third base and pitch them on Wright plus a bad contract or two in exchange for payroll relief and prospects.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Brian McCann is playing his way out of a big contract as he struggles to fight through a pair of injuries in his right shoulder. The Braves hold a $12MM option on McCann for next season, making this winter the ideal time to discuss a new deal.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
As if the Rays didn't have enough top starting pitching, Alex Cobb is providing Tampa Bay with some high-quality innings. The right-hander threw a complete game, four-hit shutout of the Athletics today, leading the Rays to a 5-0 victory over their fellow AL Wild Card contenders. Minus his August 18 outing (eight runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Angels), Cobb has a 1.46 ERA in five starts since July 27.
Here are some items from around the majors...
- David Ortiz doesn't think his Achilles injury will result in a lesser contract this winter, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. The Red Sox slugger feels his still-potent bat will outweigh concerns about his age or fitness. “That’s what everybody is looking for right now,” Ortiz said. “They don’t care if you’re a catcher, first base, DH, whatever. If you can produce, trust me, you’re going to play.”
- For the Marlins to rebound from their disappointing 2012 campaign, manager Ozzie Guillen feels the team needs to decide if it will take a step back next season or reload for another run at a playoff spot, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Rumors about Mike Scioscia's job security with the Angels has been "a distraction," GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. "Mike has been the manager of this team for a long time. He has a very long track record that suggests he's qualified. I say, let him do his job." Angels owner Arte Moreno said on Tuesday that he isn't considering changing managers.
- Brian McCann's willingness to play through oblique and shoulder injuries has limited his production for the last year and could affect his next contract, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. McCann is in the last guaranteed season of his six-year contract with the Braves, and despite the catcher's struggles, the Braves are very likely to pick up their $12MM option on McCann for next season. Past 2013, however, McCann's injury history could keep him from scoring a big deal on the free agent market or in an extension from Atlanta.
- The Rangers are one of baseball's top teams right now but face a number of questions this offseason, writes Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.
It’s tempting to assume the Dodgers will spend aggressively on free agents once new ownership is in place, but Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says it’s not that simple. Here are Stark’s latest rumors, starting in Los Angeles...
- Former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten, a key member of the Dodgers’ new leadership group, spent conservatively on outside free agents while in Atlanta, and the Nationals didn’t start spending aggressively until Kasten had moved on. Agents say spending lavishly on free agents is not Kasten’s style.
- Longtime Braves GM John Schuerholz "wouldn't be surprised" if the Dodgers spend big here and there, but he doesn’t expect splashy signings to become habitual.
- For the first time ever, no MLB team has a payroll below $50MM.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Stark that National League teams have trouble competing for free agent sluggers who may have to become designated hitters late in their careers. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols joined American League teams on long-term deals this past offseason. “When the length of those deals got to nine and 10 years, we just couldn't compete," Melvin said.
- The Rays aren’t looking for a short-term solution behind the plate, but they’d like to add an everyday catcher who can contribute for years, according to Stark.
- Schuerholz, who’s now the Braves president, says the team hopes to retain Brian McCann long-term, even though there are “no guarantees” that’s possible.
- There’s been little traction in extension talks between the Braves and McCann, according to Olney. However, the Braves control the catcher’s rights through 2013 with a $12MM club option. Olney suggests the 28-year-old could ask for more than Yadier Molina obtained from the Cardinals ($75MM for five years).
- Olney expects many teams to have interest in Hunter when he hits free agency this offseason. The right fielder has said he’ll be looking to sign with a team that has a real shot at winning the World Series.
- The Yankees would be open to dealing a starter, but haven't discussed any trades involving Freddy Garcia so far.
Here's the latest on the Atlanta nine...
- In a Q & A with Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Michael Bourn reiterated that the Braves haven't approached him about a contract extension, and said that he doesn't want to get into negotiations during the season. Re-signing with Atlanta is "always a possibility," Bourn said. "I like playing where I’m wanted. That’s one thing that I always say."
- Braves GM Frank Wren is also quoted in Vivlamore's piece, describing Bourn as "the perfect fit for us" and stating that the team wants to retain him beyond 2012. "Our basic philosophy is we have expressed that we would like to retain Michael and then, from there, we go silent," Wren said. "When we approach him, before or after the season, those are things we prefer not to talk about."
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman doesn't think Bourn will re-sign with the Braves, believing that the team won't give a five-year deal "to a speed guy who will be 30 years old at the start of the contract." Looking at Bourn as an extension candidate in January, MLBTR's Mike Axisa postulated that a five-year, $50MM contract would be fair for both sides.
- Also from Bowman's online chat with fans, he thinks "at least one of" Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado will be traded before Opening Day 2013 and that Brian McCann won't sign an extension with the Braves this year now that Yadier Molina's new deal with the Cardinals has changed the market for catchers. Bowman isn't sure Atlanta will be able to afford a new deal for McCann, especially since AL teams can offer McCann the luxury of the DH spot in the latter years of a contract.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports takes a somewhat pessimistic view of the Braves' 2011 season and their late-season collapse, wondering "what if last year’s first half was the aberration?"
Mets first baseman Ike Davis is being treated for a form of Valley Fever, though the team says Davis' infection is non-contagious and not very serious (via Mike Puma of the New York Post on Twitter). Davis says he has yet to receive an official diagnosis and hasn't experienced any symptoms. In recent years, Conor Jackson has also dealt with Valley Fever, missing most of the 2009 season with a more severe case of the infection.
Here are some (non-medical) news items from around both East divisions....
- Jim Johnson seems to have enough of a lead over Kevin Gregg for the Orioles' closer job that Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports that Gregg could be traded if Johnson's back is healthy. Gregg struggled in his first season in Baltimore and to move him, the O's would have to eat a big portion of Gregg's $5.8MM salary for 2012.
- The Rays have renewed Jeremy Hellickson's contract for 2012, the team announced today. Hellickson isn't eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season and is under team control through 2016. The Rays also announced they had come to terms with 22 other players with less than three years of Major League experience, including such notable names as Desmond Jennings, Alex Cobb and Matt Joyce. Tampa Bay's entire 40-man roster is now under contract for 2012.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks the Braves may have cost themselves by waiting to extend Brian McCann. Yadier Molina's five-year, $75MM extension with the Cardinals will probably raise the price for McCann to as much as $18-$20MM or even more per season. O'Brien thinks AL teams have an advantage over the Braves if McCann hits free agency, since McCann wouldn't have to play the field in his later years if he went to the American League. McCann is under contract through 2012 and the Braves hold a $12MM club option on the All-Star catcher for 2013.
- The Blue Jays may be the best-positioned of any team to benefit from the expanded playoff format, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- The two East divisions boast seven of the top 16 fantasy pitchers in baseball, according to Mike Axisa's rankings for Roto Authority. The Phillies alone have three pitchers in the top seven, including Roy Halladay in the top spot.
ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark asked five GMs how many teams have a shot at winning the World Series and each executive said 13-16 clubs could win it all. The Mets, Astros, Pirates, Cubs, Padres, Orioles, White Sox, Twins, Mariners and Athletics didn’t receive any nominations. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors...
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Stark he would take a look at a bat if one were to fall into the team’s lap. That is to say, he’d welcome players willing to accept minor league deals and hit their way onto the 25-man roster. “In terms of adding a free agent on a guaranteed contract, we won't be doing that," Anthopoulos said.
- Stark had heard a rumor that the Blue Jays may have interest in right-handed bats such as Magglio Ordonez or Vladimir Guerrero.
- Shane Victorino, who is on track to hit free agency after the 2012 season, told Stark he’d like to stay in Philadelphia, even if that means signing an extension that delays his arrival on the free agent market. Click here for the latest on extension talks around MLB.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told Stark he isn’t worried about locking Brian McCann up just yet, since he's under team control through 2013. “I think it's probably premature for those discussions,” Wren said. “But we love him. And we know he's a big part of our club.”