It has been an incredibly slow start to the MLB offseason, but the winds seem to be changing. A day after striking a deal with former Phillies‘ farmhand Trevor May, the Mets seem to be inching closer to a deal with free agent backstop James McCann, another potential Phillies target this offseason.
Robert Murrary of FanSided is reporting that, while nothing is finalized as of yet, the Mets are moving closer to a four-year deal with McCann, while Jon Heyman of MLB Network is hearing similar reports about the Mets making a “serious push” to land the catcher. This would be the biggest commitment to date for an MLB team to give out this offseason, and by no means is that insignificant.
I profiled McCann a while back as a potential replacement for JT Realmuto had Realmuto left for a bigger deal somewhere else. McCann has shown a fine defensive acumen for his entire career, and recently had shown some real talent with the bat in his hands. While Realmuto is the prize of the catching market this offseason, McCann is definitely the second best catcher on the market and was going to cash in this offseason.
The importance of this signing for the Phillies cannot be understated. If the Mets are able to get this deal to the finish line and secure McCann, you would have to believe they would be out of the Realmuto sweepstakes. Giving a player a four-year deal, especially in this offseason, makes it pretty clear they will be your starter moving forward. In my opinion, the only team that really stood a chance of outbidding the Phillies for JT were the Mets. Steve Cohen buying the team has brought new life to the franchise, and they are going to become players in almost every top free agent battle moving forward.
However, I don’t see them doubling down on catcher, so expect them to duck out of the Realmuto race after completing the deal.
The Phillies, caught up in their search for new faces to run the baseball operations department, should be rejoicing at the news of McCann to the Mets. While it has been a rather auspicious start to the offseason, the Phillies do have more money to spend than the average MLB team this offseason.
With approximately $70 million available to spend prior to reaching the luxury tax, the Phillies are in fine position to make the necessary moves to compete next year. There is plenty of room to sign Realmuto and then some, but managing partner John Middleton will probably want to put a cap on the spending this offseason. Even if you spend $50 million, you are still doing things to make your team better, especially in a market where teams are trying to save every penny, not spend them.
As the offseason continues to play out, it seems that one of the main contributors to moves that this team makes will be whether or not ownership wants to spend the money that it needs to. As I have said before, this is the most crucial offseason for the Phillies in some time. The moves that are made are going to shape the future of this franchise for years to come. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011, there needs to be a little more sense of urgency from the team.
The way the market is developing only favors teams with money to spend like the Phillies. Now, the only thing left to do is for the team to actually step up and spend the money. The Phillies can’t afford to lose Realmuto if McCann does end up going to the Mets, especially when it’s clear they have the money to make the move.
Don’t forget to check out the latest episode of “The Pulse of the City Pod”
Other news for the Phillies:
- The team took care of some clerical work when the officially avoided arbitration with four players: Andrew Knapp, David Hale, Hector Neris and Zach Elfin. Knapp signed for $1.1 million, and could be looked at as the starting catcher if the team doesn’t bring back JT. Hale agreed to a $850K contract after a midseason trade from the Yankees. Neris had his $7 million option declined, so him signing for $5 million was a discount. Elfin agreed to a $4.45 million salary for next season, and is hoping to continue his success into 2021
- After taking most of the time allotted to decide, the Phillies finally decided to tender Vince Velazquez a contract for the 2021 season. While he has definitely been one of the more frustrating players on the roster during his time here, I don’t see a better option for the money on the open market. Plus, I don’t foresee him still being in the rotation next season.
- The Phillies should have a eye on the market as many good players were nontendered by their respective teams yesterday. Players like David Dahl, Nomar Mazara, Archie Bradley, and Carlos Rodon are players who would be interesting additions to this team. Out of the four I mentioned, Bradley or Dahl would fit the needs of the Phillies the best. However, the Phillies won’t be the only ones shopping along the margins
- Interviews for the GM and president positions are still ongoing. Some of the people brought in for interviews include former president of the Marlins Michael Hill, current senior VP of the Dodgers Josh Byrnes, and Dodgers VP and AGM Jeff Kingston. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden reported that Byrnes was the early frontrunner, making what would be a bit of a homecoming for the Haverford College alumnus