Dec. 9: Talks between the Mets and McCann have recently gained further momentum, per Martino.
Dec. 4: While the Mets have stepped up their efforts on the McCann front, there were still multiple other clubs negotiating with his camp as of last night, Jon Morosi reported on MLB Network this morning (video link).
Dec. 3, 12:44pm: While talks are ongoing, the two sides are not yet close to finalizing a deal, tweets Martino.
12:31pm: The Mets are in “active talks” with McCann, tweets Fansided’s Robert Murray, who adds that a four-year deal indeed looks possible. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets are making a “serious push” to land the former White Sox backstop.
12:28pm: While the Mets have been linked to J.T. Realmuto ever since news of Steve Cohen’s purchase of the franchise broke, reports surrounding the team’s pursuit of a catcher have pointed in other directions early in the offseason. SNY’s Andy Martino reported recently that James McCann was more firmly in the team’s crosshairs, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post now suggests the same, citing executives from two other teams involved in the free-agent catching market who believe the Mets’ pursuit of McCann is “intensifying.”
Certainly that doesn’t mean that a deal is close to fruition, and it’s eminently possible that McCann’s reps are broadcasting confidence to other clubs that does not quite align with New York’s actual level of aggression. Still, it’s worth noting that one of the execs to whom Sherman spoke suggested McCann could even command a four-year deal given the early activity on the second-tier market for catchers.
A four-year pact would be a surprise for even the most bullish projections. We oscillated between a two- and three-year deal for McCann when discussing predictions for our Top 50 Free Agent rankings, with majority ultimately leading to two-year prediction. Four years was never a real consideration. McCann’s 2019-20 run with the White Sox was quite strong, as he made considerable gains in his production at the plate (.276/.334/.474), the underlying metrics behind that output (career-high hard-hit rate, exit velocity, barrel rate) and in terms of his ability to frame pitches — particularly his ability to gain strike calls at the bottom of the zone. However, his 2018 season in Detroit led to a non-tender, and as good as he’s been with the South Siders across the past two seasons, it’s a sample size of 587 plate appearances.
If the Mets do indeed prefer a smaller-scale deal with McCann to the likely $100MM+ contract that Realmuto will command at some point this offseason, they’d have ample resources left to pursue other big-ticket items — be it free-agent pursuits of George Springer, Trevor Bauer and/or DJ LeMahieu or trade negotiations for a prominent name (Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, Chicago’s Kris Bryant, etc.). They’ve already crossed one item off their shopping list, having introduced righty Trevor May on a new two-year contract this afternoon.
Whether a deal ultimately comes together remains to be seen, though if the early weeks of the offseason have told us anything, it’s that if the reports on their increased interest in McCann aren’t accurate, Cohen himself may just make that known to the world on Twitter.