The New York Mets have agreed to a contract with free-agent catcher James McCann for four years and worth north of $40 million, a source confirmed with amNewYork Metro on Thursday afternoon.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and MLB insider Jon Heyman were the first to report that McCann’s deal with the Mets was making its way across the finish line after multiple days of serious negotiations.
It’s the second major signing of the Steve Cohen era as Mets owner and crosses the first big item off their list of offseason needs.
A bona fide starting catcher has eluded the Mets for years — largely since the departure of Paul Lo Duca after a brief stint in the mid-2000s — and their decision not to pick up Wilson Ramos’ option earlier this offseason opened the door to pursue one.
Initially, JT Realmuto was perceived to be the Mets’ top option considering the two parties had been linked as soon as Cohen was the favorite to become to the team owner.
However, Realmuto — who is considered to be the best catcher in baseball by far — would have carried a much more sizable price tag with an expected average annual value of around $20 million. Such a deal would have eaten up a large chunk of the Mets’ available cap space while the franchise still has to find a starting center fielder and at least one starting pitcher.
The Mets currently have interest in center fielder George Springer and 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner, Trevor Bauer — but the severity of said interest is unknown as of now.
As for McCann, the Mets are getting a backstop who was an All-Star in 2019 and experienced his best seasons at the tail-end of his twenties. The now-30-year-old slashed .276/.334/.474 with 25 home runs and 75 RBI over the last two years (149 games).