The New York Mets now have the richest owner in Major League Baseball in Steve Cohen, and the lifelong Mets fan said that the club would start to spend like a big-market team – which it rarely did under previous ownership. Cohen is sticking to his word as New York has signed former White Sox All-Star catcher James McCann to a free-agent deal.
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McCann will get four years and around $40 million. McCann had a career-high .289 batting average with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games in the shortened 2020 season. After the 2018 season, McCann was non-tendered after a dismal season with the Detroit Tigers that saw him finish the year with -0.7 fWAR. However, he was an All-Star in 2019 after signing a low-cost deal with the White Sox and then followed it up with another strong campaign in 2020.
McCann also improved his pitch framing under the tutelage of White Sox catching instructor Jerry Narron. Over the past two seasons, McCann was plus-nine in defensive runs saved. In his previous two seasons he was minus-nine. McCann also has a strong throwing arm and nailed 21-of-45 runners (46.6 percent) attempting to steal against him the past two seasons.
The Mets chose McCann as an alternative to J.T. Realmuto — the top free-agent catcher on the market, who would have cost significantly more. McCann will give the Mets flexibility to pursue other needs.
The Mets were in need of a starting catcher after declining Wilson Ramos’ option for the 2021 season. New York already taken the money it saved when second baseman Robinson Cano was suspended for the 2021 season due to a second PED violation and signed McCann and relief pitcher Trevor May.
May got a two-year deal worth a total of $15.5 million. The 31-year-old May holds a 3.19 ERA with 12.2 K/9 in 113 appearances over the past three seasons, so he should only help the Mets’ bullpen going into 2021. He figures to serve in a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz.
The Mets are not done as they have been linked to free-agent outfielder George Springer (last of Astros) and 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer (last of Reds). Most believe the Mets are favorites to sign Springer, while Bauer may prefer to pitch in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Angels.
New York also hired its general manager over the weekend in Jared Porter. He spent the past four seasons as Arizona’s assistant GM, following stints as a director of professional scouting with the Red Sox and Cubs. In Boston and Chicago, Porter helped to end World Series droughts, winning titles in 2004, ’07, ’13 and ’16. Three of the four came alongside former Cubs boss Theo Epstein.
Porter beat out a group of finalists that included A’s assistant GM Billy Owens, Red Sox assistant GM Zack Scott and former Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill.
“Mets got it right,” former D-backs pitcher Dan Haren tweeted. “He’s the man.”
The Mets are +1000 at MyBookie to win the NL pennant.
Where Will Kluber Sign?
Two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is without a team after the Texas Rangers declined his $18 million option weeks ago. Kluber threw 18 pitches in his only inning for the Rangers, leaving with shoulder tightness in a 5-2 loss to Colorado in the third game of the 2020 season. The 34-year-old was diagnosed with a small tear in his shoulder muscle the next day and didn’t pitch again. It was Kluber’s first appearance with a team other than Cleveland, and his first start in almost 15 months after his right forearm was broken by a line drive in what ended up being his final start for the Indians on May 1, 2019.
Kluber was dominant in 2018, his last full season of work. He is expected to throw bullpen sessions for interested teams later this month. The Red Sox are one team that’s reportedly interested in the veteran right-hander, and they could have a leg up on the competition since Kluber lives in Boston during the offseason.
Boston badly needs pitching as ace Chris Sale won’t be ready for Opening Day as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery, and while lefty Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to have a normal spring training, it’s unclear if there will be effects from his bout with COVID-19 and myocarditis.
The Red Sox also are looking at the likes of Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill. Boston aggressively pursued pitcher Charlie Morton before he signed with the Braves last month.
Boston is +2500 at MyBookie to win the AL pennant.
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