With the Atlanta Braves leaning towards Evan Gattis as their catcher of the future, seven-time All Star Brian McCann is set to walk in free agency at the age of 29. McCann was great for the Braves through nine seasons and will probably be too expensive for Atlanta to retain. He could, in fact, be in line for a massive free agent deal.
ESPN.com reported on Tuesday that the ceiling for McCann could be in the $100 million range. He is viewed around the league as one of the best five players at his position, and helping his cause is a catching void for the New York Yankees.
McCann is a five-time Silver Slugger winner in the National League at catcher, an impressive feat given the emergence of Yadier Molina and Buster Posey in recent years. But he hasn't hit above .270 since 2009 and doesn't post elite power numbers either. He'll get you 20 home runs and 70 RBI, but he's not exactly a perennial MVP candidate.
McCann does, however, have a lot of value on defense with the best catcher ERA of the 2013 season at 2.99. He is known as one of the game's best game-callers and has a strong leadership presence in the clubhouse.
What could also help McCann's value is the potential to move to first base or designated hitter if he were signed to an A.L. team. But if he did move to first, for instance, his value on offense would be greatly diminished. Maybe his numbers would go up without the everyday grind of catching, but they'd have to increase dramatically to justify $100 million.
The price quote on McCann comes from an unnamed general manager and could have an agenda behind it. Maybe it's a rival GM of a team who is expected to be interested and he wants to drive the price up. Or perhaps it's a rival GM of the Braves who wants to see the slugger leave the National League East.
We'll see how much McCann ends up with, but $100 million could be a bit unrealistic at this point.