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James McCann signs with the White Sox

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that James McCann and the Chicago White Sox have agreed on a one-year, $5.4 million deal, avoiding arbitration.

McCann presumably lost his starting job when the White Sox signed Yasmani Grandal, and was suspected by many to be a non-tender candidate, but they chose to keep him in house as a backup and someone who can spell Grandal and allow him to DH on occasion.

McCann had his best overall offensive season last year, hitting .273/.328/.460 with 18 homers, but it was a tale of two seasons for the guy. Before the All-Star break he hit .316/.371/.502. After the break: .226/.281/.413, with a spike in his strikeout rate and a reduction of his walk rate. In his five previous seasons McCann hit a combined.240/.288/.366, so those second half numbers in 2019 seem far closer to the mark.

Maybe the Sox think they know something that make them think that first half was some new level for the guy. Maybe they just like him and want two catchers who could start for most teams on the roster.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.