News coming out of the new Steve Cohen Mets regimen, as the team has reportedly come to terms with James McCann to a 4 year, 40(ish) million dollars. McCann gives the Mets the second best available catcher this offseason behind Realmuto, and comes to New York on the heels of two outstanding seasons for the Chicago White Sox.
In 2019, McCann broke out, posting an at the time career high in OPS at .789, and blasting 18 home runs and driving in 60 for an up and coming White Sox team. It was even better in 2020, seeing McCann in 31 games, end with a .289/.360/.536 slash, with a .896 OPS and 144 OPS+. The biggest worry about McCann, will be a couple of things, one being his lack of success, seeing as he averaged a .656 OPS between 2015-2018 with the Tigers, as a full time starter collecting 443 games played between those four seasons. Now yes, McCann has significantly improved since this time period it appears, seeing his ability to make more consistent hard contact rise over the last two seasons, going from below average between 2017-2018 at 87.1 MPH, and being above 90.0 MPH for the last two seasons in 2019/2020.
With the glove, for his career, he has been pretty below average, totaling a -1 DRS for his career, but having a +9 DRS in his last two seasons between 2019-2020. It is more of the same with framing metrics, as McCann from 2015-2019, was by far one of the three worst framers in the league, having -44 Runs Extra Strikes between that time period. But just like his DRS, McCann’s RES went positive in 2020, ranking him in the 88th percentile for the season, and making him look that much more appealing.
McCann is getting payed off the success of his 2019-2020 seasons, which is more than fair considering how good he was, and the obvious progress he has made in his career. But the worrisome thing moving forward, is the lack of knowledge of what player you will truly get, will you get the one that was below replacement level with 1,658 plate appearances from 2015-2018, or will you get the All-Star caliber one 587 plate appearances from 2019-2020. Who knows, but everything went right for McCann going into his free agent year, and the Mets desperately needed a catcher, so this deal made sense from the very beginning, but they are going to be very demanding of a good hitting catcher moving forward from McCann, since the franchise hasn’t had one of those since the days of Mike Piazza (Sorry Paul Lo Duca).