The Braves have agreed to terms with free-agent catcher Brian McCann, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman first reported on Monday. It’s a one-year deal worth $2 million, per The Athletic’s David O’Brien and Ken Rosenthal:
Brian McCann is coming home. McCann and the Braves have reached an agreement. Contract specifics have not been revealed.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) November 26, 2018
One year contract for McCann, no option— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 26, 2018
McCann deal with #Braves is one year, $2M, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2018
McCann, who was born in Athens, Georgia and attended high school in Duluth, was a seven-time All-Star and won five Silver Slugger awards with his childhood team from 2005-13, posting a .277/.350/.473 slash line with 176 homers in 4,354 plate appearances while accumulating 25.1 bWAR. He’s since had a three-year stint with the Yankees, where he won another Silver Slugger award in 2015, and a two-year stop in Houston, where he won a World Series in 2017.
McCann, a left-handed hitter, figures to serve as a platoon partner for returning backstop Tyler Flowers. His presence will allow the Braves to continue employing the catcher timeshare that they’ve employed to some degree each year since Flowers arrived in 2016, with Flowers and the recently-departed Kurt Suzuki teaming up to achieve a particularly significant level of success in 2017-18. His signing would seem to officially end Atlanta’s pursuit of Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has been rumored as a candidate to be dealt to the Braves for nearly a year now.
McCann will be 35 years old in February and played in 63 games this year — the fewest he’s played in a season since 2005, his rookie season. Thus, it’s fair to say he’s in the twilight of his career, and this deal gives him an opportunity to retire as a Brave once it’s all said and done.
According to Bowman, McCann went out of his way to return to his original team, turning down more lucrative offers in the process:
McCann made it clear he wanted to be with the Braves. He passed up some more lucrative offers to once again play in his hometown.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) November 26, 2018
That news shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point; McCann told guests at a charity function last November that still loved the Braves and would consider returning to finish his career in a Braves uniform, as Gabe Burns detailed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While the free-agent market has been extremely quiet as a whole, the catching market has been relatively active — perhaps because the players who have signed are willing to accept their value in today’s game, where catching platoons are extremely prevalent. McCann is now the fourth backstop who has signed with a new team and is likely to be a part-time starter next season, following Jeff Mathis, who signed with the Rangers, and Suzuki, who signed with the Nationals last week.