Brian McCann's options wide open
The fact that the Texas Rangers signed Geovany Soto on Tuesday and named him their primary catcher won't change Brian McCann's "thought process" or interest in joining the Rangers, according to his agent, BB Abbott.
"He knows they potentially might have a need for somebody to fill that dual role of a big left-handed bat in the lineup as well as somebody to help behind the plate," Abbott said. "I think [the Rangers are] certainly a consideration."
Abbott said that right now, McCann isn't closing the door on any situation, including what kind of role he might have with various teams. McCann, who turns 30 before the season begins, is the top catcher on the market and one of the better power-hitting, left-handed hitters available. He's likely to get interest from a bundle of teams, though Abbott didn't want to comment on how many conversations he may have had with various clubs.
The Rangers signed Soto to a $3.05 million contract and have said they want him catching the majority of games. But if they sign McCann to a long-term deal -- some reports say something in the neighborhood of five years and $75 million or $80 million might be needed to get it done (and don't forget that a deal would cost a first-round draft choice, too, because the Braves gave McCann a qualifying offer this week) -- they could protect that investment a bit by having him do more than just catch. In the American League, the options increase thanks to the DH. McCann has never played first base, but maybe that's another position he can learn that could extend his career.
McCann hit 20 home runs and drove in 57 in 356 at-bats last season, finishing with a .256 average. His OPS of .796 was sixth among NL catchers last year. He's hit .277 in his career and has had six consecutive seasons of 20 or more homers, numbers that would certainly help the Rangers' need for more power. It helps that he's left-handed too, to balance with Texas' righties in the lineup.
Abbott said "fit" matters a bunch to McCann and that he knows the Rangers' clubhouse has a good reputation around the league.
"From a due diligence standpoint, he knows the Rangers' clubhouse would be a good fit for him," Abbott said. "He's not a rah-rah, really outspoken guy. He's more of a leader by example. I think he probably would look for a clubhouse that would complement him from a professionalism standpoint and a good fit from a personality standpoint. He knows that clubhouse is a good one. The support they get and the commitment from Dallas-Fort Worth is pretty great."
Abbott said McCann also wants to play for a contending team.
"It's very important," Abbott said. "He understands this is one time to sign a deal where he might potentially end his career. At this point in any free agent's career at 29 years old, that has to be something that's very, very high on the list. I don't think you'll see him end up in a place that he doesn't believe has a legitimate chance to compete."