An anonymous MLB GM told ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand that he thinks Atlanta Braves catcher and Fun Police Commissioner Brian McCann could land a $100MM deal in free agency this offseason. The GM hypothesizes a 6-year $100MM deal as a possibility within the realm of well, possibility.
Marchand goes on to mention Joe Mauer's 8-year $184MM pact with Minnesota and Yadier Molina's 5-year $75MM deal with the Cardinals as reference points. McCann is just 29 years-old and has managed 20 home runs or more in 7 of his 8 full seasons in Atlanta.
Expect most of the interest to come from the AL, as it would be easier to absorb McCann's physical decline with a non-fielding spot in the order.
The Yankees are Marchand's primary focus in the article, and they make a lot of sense as a new home for McCann -- especially if Alex Rodriguez' suspension holds up and the team allows Robinson Cano to sign elsewhere.
The GM called McCann a "top-five catcher" and it's hard to argue with that assessment -- unless you use advanced metrics. McCann ranks 16th in fWAR over the last two years (minimum of 750 plate appearances). His wRC+ of 103 over that span ranks 15th, just below the A.J. couplet of Pierzynski and Ellis. Doesn't sound like a $100MM man, does it?
McCann's leadership will probably be harped on often in the coverage of his potential destinations, but it's difficult to put a number on something like clubhouse presence. And for those of you that think he might be kind of a bummer to ice your wounds with, go watch the most recent Fun Police play again. He's just backing up his teammates. Of course, he had a history of similar outbursts before the Gomez incident.
Despite enviable alternatives, the Braves may decide to keep their long-time catcher around. Evan Gattis can hit, sure, but he isn't a viable option behind the plate, or really anywhere on the field outside the batter's box. Atlanta also has a strong catching prospect in Christian Bethancourt, but he has 3,862 fewer MLB at bats than McCann -- in other words, one. They could use the young backstop as chip on the trade market and re-sign McCann if they decide his leadership -- and more importantly, his on-field contributions -- are worth $100MM.
McCann may leave. And he may very well sign with the Yankees as Marchand proposes, but it seems pretty obvious...
The Braves LOVE Brian McCann.