Last week, we learned that some in the business think long time Braves catcher Brian McCann could earn as much as $100 million in free agency this off-season. That could come to fruition as many of the teams that will be in hot pursuit of McCann’s services rank among baseball’s richest teams.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports lists the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, Cubs, and Angels among the many teams who could get involved in the bidding for the free agent catcher.
Heymann says that the Braves aren’t expected to jump into the fray to retain McCann’s services:
The incumbent Braves like McCann but are sure to spend their money elsewhere considering their tight budget, with a player payroll that has stayed between $90 million and $100 million six straight years, and a decent catching situation, with Evan Gattis and prospect Christian Bethancourt, a defensive whiz, as young, cost-effective alternatives.
McCann turns 30 in February, so a likely free agent contract will take him into his mid-30’s. He missed the first 30 games of the 2013 regular season recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. He had a typical above-average year, reaching 20 home runs for the sixth consecutive year while being reliable behind the plate.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.