The Texas Rangers are expected to make a serious run at free agent catcher Brian McCann as part of their search for offense this winter, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Knobler notes that the 29-year old is unlikely to re-sign with the Braves and will command a substantial contract on the free agent market.
As FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported back in July, Texas made a run at acquiring McCann prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, and have had consistent interest in acquiring him over the past few years. Knobler confirms this report, noting that the Rangers have tried to acquire the backstop on multiple occasions and have recently had scouts following the Braves around with their focus on McCann.
McCann, who hit .256 with 20 HR and 57 RBI in 102 games with the Braves this season, is the top name on a relatively deep list of free agent catchers this offseason. He is joined by Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Red Sox), Carlos Ruiz (Phillies), John Buck (Pirates), Dioner Navarro (Cubs), and A.J. Pierzynski (Rangers) on the list of available names, but will receive biggest contract out of all of them due to his consistent performance over the past nine years.
With so many teams losing catchers to free agency, the market for McCann is expected to be a competitive one. While the Braves are likely to move forward with Evan Gattis and Christian Bethancourt behind the plate, the Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers and Rangers are all expected to show at least some interest in the seven-time All-Star.
If McCann decides to give the Braves a hometown discount or receives an overwhelming offer from a team other than the Rangers, the team does seem to have fallback plans in place. As Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com reports, both Pierzynski and backup Geovany Soto have expressed interest in returning to Texas, and will likely be considered if the team is unable to land McCann. Ruiz, Saltalamacchia and Navarro will probably also receive consideration in the team's catching search this winter.