Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why Brian McCann Will Be Baseball's Next $100 Million Man

Brian McCann may be looking at a big pay-day this offseason. 

Brian McCann has been a force ever since cracking the Braves' big league roster back in 2006. With five Silver Slugger Awards and six All-Star Appearances, McCann looks like a prime candidate to become baseball's third $100-million catcher and many teams are interested. We will just have to see which team can pencil him into their 2014 opening day lineup, as we look at a few reasons why McCann will be baseball's next $100-million man:

TV Contracts

There is more money in baseball than ever before. With FOX, ESPN, and TBS all signing new deals with the MLB, each team will now have an additional $25 million coming their way. We have already seen the effects of these TV contracts with Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence receiving extensions that have you taking a second look at Brian Sabean's skills as a General Manager. The inflation of salaries are expected to only get worse in free agency with players such as Shin Shoo Choo, Ricky Nolasco, Ervin Santana, etc. all seeking deals that would not usually be given to players of their caliber.

2. Catching Market

Brian McCann appears to be the unanimous pick for the top catcher on the free agent market. The remainder of the catching crop includes Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Carlos Ruiz, AJ Pierzynski, and many other less appealing options. While those three are very solid options behind the plate, none come close to McCann's consistency or ability to be a middle of the order presence. Saltalamacchia is coming off a career year where he posted an OPS of .804 as Boston's starting backstop, but in two previous seasons had a slash line of .229/.288/.452. Ruiz, 34, and Pierzynski, 37, are both well into their 30's and should receive short-term contracts this off season coming off unimpressive years. With all the question marks around the catching market, McCann should have plenty of suitors for his services.

3. Power is a Premium

After compiling a .277/.350/.473 triple slash line in nine seasons with the Braves, McCann has established himself as one of the best power hitting backstops in the game, hitting 176 long balls over the course of his career, good for the most among active catchers. Power has become a premium at the catching position with just five catchers reaching the 20 home run plateau and only two with an Isolated Slugging Percentage over .200 in 2013 other than McCann. Even more impressive, that McCann accumulated his numbers in a mere 356 at bats and hit a home run every 17.8 at bats.

4. Teams Interested

With the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Giants and Rockies all said to be interested in McCann, a bidding war between these teams could get out of control. The six teams on this list, excluding the Rockies, are all in the top ten in 2013 payroll and are considered large market teams. The Yankees might make the most sense as their catchers hit a measly .213 this year with only eight home runs, but the Red Sox also have a glaring need for a backstop as Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a free agent himself making both of those teams the most likely suitors for McCann. The Angels, Rangers, Giants and Rockies do have suitable catchers, but position changes or trades may be pursued for their starting catchers to make room for McCann.

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