2:07pm: The Braves announced that they’ve signed McCann to a one-year deal worth $2MM. As agent B.B. Abbott explained to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links), McCann’s priority this winter was to return to Atlanta.
1:08pm: It’s a one-year deal for McCann, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.
12:56pm: The Braves have agreed to terms on a contract with free-agent catcher Brian McCann, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (via Twitter). It’ll be a homecoming for the Jet Sports client, who is from the Atlanta area and spent the first nine seasons of his Major League career as the Braves’ primary catcher.
McCann, 35 in February, signed a five-year, $80MM contract with the Yankees prior to the 2014 season and spent three years in the Bronx before being traded to the Astros in the 2016-17 offseason. After a solid first season in Houston that saw McCann hit .241/.323/.436 with 18 home runs and win a World Series ring, the 2018 season proved difficult for the veteran receiver. McCann slashed just .212/.301/.339 through 216 plate appearances. Injury troubles plagued McCann throughout the year — most notably a knee issue that required surgical repair over the summer.
In his return tour with Atlanta, McCann figures to share time behind the dish with 33-year-old Tyler Flowers. The pair could form a fairly straightforward platoon, as McCann has remained rather productive against right-handed pitching even into his mid-30s (with the exception of this past season’s injury-marred results). Flowers, meanwhile, has been a nuisance for left-handed pitchers, hitting them at a .278/.387/.444 clip over the past five seasons. The exact division of labor behind the plate may not even be fully determined until Spring Training, however.
Despite his knee troubles, McCann still managed to halt 32 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in 2018. He’s long been considered a plus pitch framer, though he graded out below average in that regard last season, per Baseball Prospectus. His blocking numbers, too, have declined in recent seasons. For the Braves, though, the hope will be that better health and perhaps a lighter workload can help McCann restore some of his offensive and defensive prowess. At the very least, he’ll bring nearly a decade and a half of experience working with pitchers to a young Atlanta rotation — an asset in which Braves decision-makers assuredly see plenty of value.