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.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.