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Monday, November 18, 2013
How does Ruiz deal impact McCann?

By Richard Durrett

One big question after news broke of Carlos Ruiz’s deal with the Philadelphia Phillies: How will this impact the market for Brian McCann?

McCann’s agent, BB Abbott, says it doesn’t change what he and his staff believe McCann’s value is this offseason. But he acknowledges that it could alter how other teams view that market.

“There are certainly teams that are probably looking at the deal and think it has to impact what they’re going to do in this market,” Abbott said. “It doesn’t change what we think of him. But it’s significant in that another catcher is off the market. It’s another puzzle piece that isn’t out there.”

The fact that the Phillies were willing to guarantee three years (at $26 million, according to various reports) to a catcher who turns 35 in January can’t hurt McCann’s attempt to get as much security as possible in his next deal.

Abbott wouldn’t go into any details about the teams that have expressed interest, but said he isn’t in any rush to get a deal done. The Rangers are interested and the buzz at the general manager meetings, according to a variety of reports, was that their interest level was high. McCann’s left-handed power bat would help the Texas lineup and he could catch some, but also DH and learn to play first base, giving Rangers manager Ron Washington some options in terms of filling out the lineup card.

Abbott didn’t want to discuss any of that, vowing not to talk specifics. He said many teams are still talking about their options internally and even looking at trade possibilities with each other.

“That’s to be expected this team of year,” Abbott said. “Brian is going to be coveted on the market. Guys of this magnitude don’t make it to free agency as a catcher. There’s a reason for that. I don’t have any trepidation at all about waiting. If a team wants to move more quickly, we certainly would do that. But I think Brian sits out on an island by himself.”

Abbott said the length of the contract is just one of many factors that McCann will take into account when making his decision.

“First and foremost, he wants to go to a place that he feels can compete and win,” Abbott said. “He wants to be in a place where there’s a good fit, where the coaching staff, clubhouse, and front office are a good fit. He wants to be where it’s a good fit for his family to live. He also wants to make sure he fulfills what he wants out of free agency and that’s the deal he ultimately signs.”

The reality is Ruiz's deal may be really good news for A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, two catchers in that tier below McCann. Stay tuned.