The Mets and Orioles traded hits on Wednesday night with Baltimore. James McCann And a monetary consideration from the Mets for a player to be named later. New York will reportedly cover $19 million of the $24 million remaining on McCann’s contract over the next two years. Baltimore designated Infield to make room on the 40-man roster Tyler Nevin For category.
It seemed only a matter of time before McCann switched teams. New York agreed to make a deal Omar Narvaz By A Two year contract Last Thursday. As news of that deal broke, it became clear that the Mets would be the most likely candidate for one of their backstops in McCann. It was also Makan Tomato nest He could be sent down to the minor leagues, and keeping three catchers on the 26-man roster was a challenge. That’s before considering high hopes. Francisco AlvarezWho will get an extended MLB look soon after his debut at the end of the 2022 season?
McCann will keep his roster spot in Baltimore. The O’s entered the day with just one catcher on the 40-man roster, making bringing in help from outside the organization inevitable. Of course, that backstop is the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up. Adele Rutschman. McCann should move into a backup role with the O’s.
The past couple of seasons have been difficult for McCann, who joined the Mets at the start of the 2020-21 season. New York has placed a big bet on the veteran backstop over the past couple seasons for the White Sox. The University of Arkansas product hit .276/.334/.474 with 587 plate appearances for Chicago in 2019-20. That dwarfed the .240/.288/.366 mark he posted over the previous four-plus with the Tigers, and he felt backed into a corner by the Mets offensively. With the 40.6mm free agent contract, they hand in a lot of expectations.
New York extended McCann’s first season in 2021, playing 97 of their 162 games in 2021. His production, however, is similar to his Detroit days. He hit .232/.294/.349 in 412 plate appearances, connecting on just 10 home runs and hitting 18 long balls in his only full season with the White Sox. However, as the Mets hope to mount a rebuilding campaign, McCann is back in the Opening Day lineup for the second straight season.
That wasn’t to be when he struggled this year with both a lack of ability and injuries. The veteran broke a ligament in his left hand/wrist in mid-May. He needed surgery and lost six weeks to recover. A few weeks after his return, he strained his left hamstring and returned to the injured list for less than a month. Amid health setbacks, he managed just a .195/.257/.282 line in 61 games. By the time the postseason rolled around, Nido was starting behind the plate. Alvarez was in a catcher/DH hybrid role with the big league club while McCann was relegated to a depth role.
The past two seasons haven’t been what the Mets envisioned when they signed McCann. As a result, they are left to pay a significant portion of the money remaining on his contract. His deal was loaded with a $600K signing bonus followed by $8MM salary over the first two seasons. He will be paid $12MM in each of the next two years, most of which will remain on the Mets’ roster.
While New York only shed 5mm in actual salary, the actual savings from the deal were a bit more for owner Steve Cohen and his front office. New York is about to break all four limits on the competitive residual tax, meaning you’re paying 90% tax on every additional dollar.
It’s also a straightforward move from the Orioles’ point of view. The $5MM commitment, spread over two years, is a pittance for the veteran. Players love it Mike Zunino And Austin Hedges They recently signed one-year deals as free agents in the $5-6MM range. Those players will play a bigger role in their new destinations than McCann did with the Orioles, but he would be eligible for that team if he were on the open market this summer. The O’s are nowhere near the luxury tax threshold, so the money New York saves in this regard is of little consequence to the O’s.
There’s no question that it’s Rutschman’s work, but McCann provides a respectable and experienced voice behind him on the depth chart. After a few seasons of subpar pitch framing numbers, he’s put up slightly above average in two of the last three years. McCann doesn’t have a big arm, but Rutschman makes a capable receiving tackle when called upon instead. A situational role may allow manager Brandon Hyde to work him into left-handed pitching, in which he has a .258/.325/.458 mark. If you limit him to a minimal .237/.284/.351 line, you’ll be looking to protect him from accuracy.
It’s less of a financial problem for Baltimore, and the bailout costs less. If the Mets don’t negotiate from a position of strength, it’s unlikely that the player whose name will be called will become much more popular. For the most part, the swap involved the Mets clearing a roster spot and some cash (over the Orioles). Baltimore will plug the #2 catcher spot they’ve been looking to tackle.
Doing so could cost them the injured Neve from the 40-man roster. The son of Angels pitcher Phil Nevin, he had a brief stint in the majors in 2021, but most of his MLB experience came last season. He hit .197/.299/.261 with just two home runs in his first 184 trips to the plate. Nevin has appeared in all four corner positions but has been rated poorly by public metrics for his work at third base.
Prospect evaluators have considered Nevin as a top batting prospect, so his defensive struggles at the hot corner are not too surprising. Baltimore could leapfrog Nevin on the depth chart or stockpile more top-level talent in the infield. They now have a week to trade him or place him on waivers.
While Nevin doesn’t have much MLB experience, he’s only 25 and has a more respectable Triple-A record. The righty is hitting .246/.328/.417 with 644 plate appearances at the major minor league level. Nathan Ruiz of the Baltimore Sun Tweets The O’s have been granted a fourth minor league option year, meaning a team that acquires Nevin could bounce him between the majors and Triple-A for another season.
Jeff Passan of ESPN First reported that the Orioles have acquired McCann. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com It was initially reported that the Mets were receiving a player to be named later and would cover the O’s $5MM salary.
More to come.