There is no question that Adley Rutschman is the present and future behind the plate for the Baltimore Orioles. The question was who would back him up.
That question has now been answered. According to Jeff Passan, the Orioles acquired James McCann from the Mets late on Wednesday night. Mark Feinsand from MLB.com added that the Mets are picking up $19 million of McCann’s salary over the next two seasons while Baltimore is sending a Player to be Named Later to New York.
Baltimore Orioles make smart move to add James McCann
It was a matter of time before the Mets moved on from McCann. They had signed Omar Narvaez to a two year contract and already had Tomas Nido on the roster. Top prospect Francisco Alvarez is going to get his chances soon and is the future at the position. McCann just did not have a place on the roster.
The Orioles, meanwhile, needed to find a backup for Rutschman. He was the only catcher listed on their 40 man roster at the time of the trade, with Anthony Benboom, Cam Gallagher, and Mark Kolozsvary expected to battle in spring training for that role.
Instead, McCann brings a veteran option to that role. His production disappeared once he went to New York as he posted a .220/.282/.328 batting line with 13 homers and 18 doubles in his 603 plate appearances with the Mets. However, he was a strong presence defensively, something that the Orioles have valued as a part of Rutschman’s game.
McCann could also be a bargain for more than his cost. He hit the ball hard during his time in New York; his 40.8% hard hit rate above the league average. However, he mustered a meager .244 batting average on balls in play last season, making it possible that he can be a useful part of the lineup once more.
The Baltimore Orioles have found their backup catcher. They have acquired James McCann from the Mets at a bargain price.