Orioles acquire James McCann from Mets

The Mets and Orioles traded Wednesday night, with Baltimore acquiring james mccann and Mets cash considerations for a player to be named later. New York will reportedly cover $19 million of the $24 million remaining on McCann’s contract over the next two years. To create a spot on the 40-man roster, Baltimore’s designated infielder Tyler Nevin for assignment

It seemed only a matter of time before McCann switched teams. New York agreed terms with Omar Narvaez in a two year contract Last Thursday. As soon as news of that deal broke, it became clear that the Mets would likely deal with one of their current supports, with McCann the most likely candidate. Neither McCann nor tomas nest he could be sent to the minor leagues, and carrying three catchers on the 26-man roster would have been a challenge. That’s before considering the best prospect. Francisco Alvarezwho hopes to get an extended look at MLB sometime soon after debuting late in the 2022 season.

McCann will secure his roster spot in Baltimore. The O’s started the day with just one receiver on their 40-man roster, so it was inevitable that they would bring in help from outside the organization. Of course, that endorsement is the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up. adley rutschmann. McCann will have to move into a backup role with the O’s.

The last two seasons have been difficult for McCann, who first joined the Mets during the 2020-21 offseason. New York made a sizeable bet in the veteran backup’s previous two seasons with the White Sox. The University of Arkansas product had hit .276/.334/.474 in 587 plate appearances for Chicago from 2019-20. That easily eclipsed the .240/.288/.366 mark he’d posted in the previous four seasons with the Tigers, and the Mets clearly felt he’d turned a corner on offense. They signed him to a four-year, $40.6MM free agent contract that easily exceeded most expectations.

New York gave McCann an extended career in his first season, starting at receiver in 97 of his 162 games in 2021. His production, however, was more like that of his Detroit days. He hit .232/.294/.349 in 412 plate appearances, hitting just 10 home runs after hitting 18 longballs in his only full season with the White Sox. However, McCann was back in the Opening Day lineup for the second season of the deal, as the Mets hoped for a turnaround season.

That was not to be, as he has struggled with poor performance and injuries this year. The veteran fractured the hamate of his left hand/wrist in mid-May. He required surgery and missed six weeks of rehabilitation. Within weeks of his return, he strained his left oblique and was back on the disabled list for just under a month. Between health setbacks, he’s managed just a .195/.257/.282 slash in 61 games. By the time the postseason rolled around, Nido was starting behind the plate. McCann was relegated to a depth role, while Álvarez was with the major league club in a hybrid catcher/designated hitter role.

The past two seasons certainly aren’t what the Mets envisioned when they signed McCann. As a result, they are left to pay a considerable part of the money remaining on their contract. His contract was delayed, with a $600K signing bonus followed by successive $8MM salaries in the first two seasons. He is owed $12 million in each of the next two years, most of which will remain on the Mets’ ledger.

While New York only loses $5 million in actual salary, his actual savings from the deal is slightly more than owner Steve Cohen and his front office. New York will break all four competitive balance tax thresholds, which means they will pay a 90% tax on every additional dollar spent.

It’s also a pretty straightforward move from the Orioles’ perspective. A $5 million commitment spread over two years is minimal for a veteran catcher. players like mike zunino Y austin hedges they’ve signed one-year deals in the $5-6MM range recently as free agents. Those players will take on a larger role in their new assignments than McCann did with the Orioles, but he would have fit into that group if he were available on the open market this winter. The O’s are a long way from the luxury tax threshold, so the money New York saves in that regard has little consequence for the O’s.

There’s no question that it’s Rutschman’s work, but McCann offers a respected and experienced voice behind him on the depth chart. After a few seasons of below-average pitch framing numbers, he’s rated slightly above average framing in two of the last three years. McCann doesn’t have a great arm, but he’ll provide competent reception when called upon in place of Rutschman. A situational role could allow manager Brandon Hyde to work him against the left-handed pitcher, against whom he has a .258/.325/.458 career mark. Presumably they’ll be looking to protect him from right-handers, who have limited him to a meager .237/.284/.351 line.

It’s a minimal financial impact to Baltimore, and the acquisition cost will be lower. The player to be named later isn’t likely to be a big-name prospect, as the Mets aren’t trading from a position of strength. For the most part, the trade is about the Mets clearing the roster spot and some money (more than the Orioles will have to put up). Baltimore will fill the No. 2 receiver spot they had been trying to tackle.

Doing so means they risk losing Nevin, who was cut from the 40-man roster. The son of Angels captain Phil Nevin, he briefly made his major league debut in 2021, but most of his MLB experience came last season. He hit just .197/.299/.261 with a pair of home runs in his first 184 plate appearances. Nevin appeared at all four corner positions, but scored poorly in the eyes of public metrics for his work at third base.

Prospect evaluators have long considered Nevin more of a bat-first prospect, so his defensive woes at hot corner aren’t too surprising. Baltimore has amassed a lot of top-tier infield talent that had surpassed or likely would soon surpass Nevin on the depth chart. They will now have a week to trade it in or place it on waivers.

While Nevin doesn’t have a lot of MLB experience, he’s only 25 years old and has a more respectable Triple-A record. The right-hander is a .246/.328/.417 hitter with 644 plate appearances at the highest level of the minor leagues. Nathan Ruiz of the Baltimore Sun tweets the O’s were granted a fourth year of minor league option, meaning any team that acquired Nevin could bounce him between the majors and Triple-A for another season.

Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported that the Orioles were acquiring McCann. brand feinsand from MLB.com It was first reported that the Mets would receive a player to be named later, and that the O’s were covering $5 million in salary.

More to come.

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