While the Yankees remain quiet, there are rumors involving other ballclubs to pass along today. Particularly with the Yankees’ crosstown rivals, the Mets. The Yankees will do something…eventually…but that day doesn’t appear to be today, unless something comes out of the blue. For now, let’s get to the latest around the league:
Mets closing in on deal with James McCann — or are they?
Mets getting close with free-agent catcher James McCann, sources tell The Athletic. Deal expected to be four years.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 9, 2020
Conventional wisdom indicated that the Mets would be in hot pursuit of JT Realmuto this offseason. Instead, it appears the team is going with James McCann instead. There’s no doubt that Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball at this moment, but McCann certainly will come at a lower cost.
McCann has been quite good since 2019, albeit after an extended stretch of pretty lousy play in years prior. Through 2018, the soon-to-be Met had a .240/.288/.366 (75 wRC+) and -0.1 fWAR in 1,658 plate appearances. Since, in his age 29 and 30 seasons, he’s batted .276/.334/.474 (116 wRC+) and racked up 3.8 fWAR. Not only did the bat come around, but so did the defense.
Obviously, the Mets are banking on McCann’s recent success to continue. Realmuto would be the safer bet, but there is potential for McCann to provide similar production at a lower cost. At the same time, there’s a much lower floor here than what Realmuto offers.
All that said, perhaps Rosenthal’s report is a tad premature. Jon Heyman indicates that the Angels are in on the backstop too:
#LAAngels are among other teams engaged on James McCann. They have quietly been in from the beginning.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2020
George Springer and/or Trevor Bauer could join Mets, too
#Mets are moving closer to George Springer and/or Trevor Bauer. Ultimate target is TBD. I’m told @StevenACohen2 is leaning towards Springer; Alderson would like to sign Bauer. Either one would be a huge upgrade in Flushing.— Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) December 9, 2020
But that’s not all for the Mets, folks. It sure looks like there will be a bigger splash than McCann in the not so distant future. George Springer could cover center field at Citi Field next season and/or Trevor Bauer could slot behind Jacob deGrom in the rotation.
The latest on Francisco Lindor
Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, Cleveland is ready to listen “aggressively” to trade proposals for shortstop Francisco Lindor. I don’t know if that’s necessarily revelatory, and I have no idea what it means to aggressively listen, but yeah. We already knew Cleveland was going to trade him at some point this offseason. I guess this just means that the team is ready to discuss trades in earnest.
Minor league affiliation invitations sent out
MLB took its next step forward in eliminating more than 40 minor league affiliates today. The league sent out its invites to minor league franchises around to country to remain connect with the MLB teams’ player development system. Much of this isn’t new news as the leaks have trickled out over the past few weeks and months, it’s just now officially official.
We already know how the Yankees have realigned its farm system. The Trenton Thunder, Charleston RiverDogs, Staten Island Yankees, and Pulaski Yankees are out. The Tampa Tarpons downshifted from High-A to Single-A, the Hudson Valley Renegades are now the organization’s High-A squad, the formerly independent Somerset Patriots replace the Thunder at the Double-A level, and Scranton remains the Triple-A affiliate.