White Sox sign James McCann

Rick Hahn has been insinuating that the White Sox were in the market for a catcher, and with Welington Castillo in tow, they had freedom to pursue either a big-ticket starter or a backup who could serve as a placeholder for Seby Zavala or Zack Collins. Today, they made their course of action known:

Jon Heyman reported that it’s a deal for $2.5 million

McCann will be 29 years old this year and is a career .240/.288/.366 hitter that bats from the right side. He can hit the occasional home run, though doesn’t boast much in the way of contact ability or plate discipline. Behind the plate, McCann has generally graded out poorly as a receiver and blocker, though he has been competent at controlling the running game.  With Welington Castillo projected to start and bat with from the same side of the plate, one figures that McCann’s exposure will be relatively minimal.

The move brings the 40-man roster to 39. With the catcher position seemingly set, the White Sox will turn to address their needs in the starting rotation, bullpen, and outfield, in addition to their pursuit of big-ticket free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. It appears that those with dreams of signing Yasmani Grandal will be left wanting.

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andyfaust

This ought to really raise the eyebrows of Harper and Machado.

Jim Margalus

Players aren’t the best at evaluating other players (see: LaRoche).

GreatjonHumber

Drake’s Law: All bearded, hunting, ATV-riding baseball players think all other bearded, hunting, ATV-riding baseball players are great at baseball.

Trooper Galactus

Fucking horseshit signing. When they traded Narvaez I liked it only in the sense that I felt they were getting serious about how they valued framing/blocking at the position and were ready to make a big move there. This is basically a monumental step back, as McCann is not much better a framer than Narvaez (bad, but not catastrophically so) and runs an OBP 80 points lower. If this was the plan, it was not worth it for two years of Alex Colome, sorry.

jose robcada

Colome will play in 2-3 times more games than McCann this year, he will be lucky if he plays 30 games this year as Castillo will get 75% of starts and Zavala is hopefully up midseason … McCann is literally just there to give Castillo a break once a week

Greg Nix

Why spend $2.5 mil, then? McCann isn’t any better than Rob Brantly or whoever else could be had for a minor league deal, especially over a 30 game sample.

GreatjonHumber

We are paying a bad catcher $2.5 million dollars to play 30 games?

As Cirensica

So he will be basically a very expensive team’s mascot

jose robcada

We payed Miguel Gonzalez 5m and played 3 games … 2.5 mill is a negligible amount of money  especially considering our payroll and at least he’s Capable of larger time even if unspectacular in case Castillo has an injury, could have done Maldonado or something like that instead I guess but at least we were able to get a guy on just 1 year… ya I’d rather have Narvaez but we prolly got peak value for him in that trade for a guy not in long term plans

jose robcada

I’m never gonna complain about getting a closer in his prime for a rule 5 draft pick

Trooper Galactus

They could have saved about $2 million and just kept Kevan Smith and literally been better situated at the position. This signing is a fucking sham. Even the Tigers, a team knee-deep in a rebuild, couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

jose robcada

 No they couldn’t at the time they still had Narvaez and didn’t know they could get Colome for him at the time of the release and I could be wrong but I believe he was out of options so at that point they had no choice really

Trooper Galactus

They could have kept him on the 40-man. I don’t think they ever maxed it out.

GreatjonHumber

Running tally update – since 2016, Tyler Flowers has been worth 9.1 WARP. During that same time frame, the main White Sox catchers (Omar, Welington, Dioner, Kevan, Geovany, Avila) have accumulated 0.8 WARP. If you take away Kevan Smith’s weirdly valuable 52 game .9 WARP effort in 2017, they have been worth -0.1 WARP.

Trooper Galactus

Never mind that McCann has spent two of the last three years producing negative WARP. His only year of positive value was when his framing numbers spiked, but that’s proving to be an outlier like Castillo’s 2017 with the Orioles. I think they’re spending over $10 million (taking into account Colome’s salary) to break even if they’re lucky.

GreatjonHumber

Make no mistake: this sucks.

tommytwonines

#FUCUS

lil jimmy

Tyler last played here in 2015. He’s gone. Get on with your life.

As Cirensica

Ha! Flowers and some White Sox fans will always have a special, almost clinical, cynical, logical, practical, responsible, intellectual….

There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am

A White Sox fan. A T-Flodite

MadManx

Kevan Smith is better than Jame McCann.

GreatjonHumber

A Smith/Narvaez platoon is fine. It was fine!!!

MadManx

This is literally the second time the Sox have released a catcher then signed a shitty catcher in the last few years. What does McCann bring to the table?

Trooper Galactus

Agreed. This absolutely feels like Dioner v.2.

Milky✌️

Hell, even Dioner at least looked like maybe, possibly he could bring something to the table other than a warm body. 

asinwreck

Yes, a micropig. Does James McCann have a micropig?

MadManx

More Hahn catcher fuckery

BeefLoaf108

LOL! Nice!

Milky✌️

This sucks. Absolute horseshit. 

Trooper Galactus

The worst part about this signing is it feels like something they did because they sense they’re going to strike out on Machado and Harper.

MadManx

Even if they did, it was going to take a lot of roster optimization around one or even both of them to make this a playoff team on paper. This is not optimizing the roster.

And if you strike out on them, why even bother with a signing like this? Give the reps to a young guy with potential, or at least someone who can help out the pitching staff.

35Shields

I don’t know if it really does have an impact of Harper/Machado, but it most likely mean that Grandal is out of the picture.

Which sucks because:
– Harper/Machado alone are not enough to get this team to a winning record
– Grandal was easily the best Value/$ investment on the market
– Grandal would have provided a massive upgrade over both their current roster spot and what they have in the pipeline

Trooper Galactus

It only feels that way because this offseason has sort of an “all or nothing” feel to it. McCann is a complete waste of time and a placeholder at best; he’s an acknowledgement that they expect to suck balls once again in 2019, barring some sort of 130 game renaissance from Castillo. It’s not evidence of anything, just feels like they would have aimed a lot higher if a Harper/Machado signing was in the cards.

Anohito

Just why?

roke1960

Wow, so much for the positive thinking about the F/O. It’s obvious that they are thinking Castillo is their main catcher, and maybe Collins or Zevala are ready sometime in 2019. I don’t think they wanted to get a catcher on a long term deal (Grandal) if Collins is ready by 2020. Saying that, I would have rather had a good defensive catcher like Maldonado, but let’s wait until the offseason is over before judging them. My guess is McCann doesn’t last the year- Seby or Collins will be up.

dwjm3

Collins will never be a starting major league catcher. If they don’t realize that they are fools, he sucks ass defensively.

Right Size Wrong Shape

And (I hope I’m wrong), probably won’t hit enough to be an everyday 1B either.

Also this

MrStealYoBase

This exactly. I thought then going after Grandal meant they were finally moving past this delusion. Apparently not. 

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

This

dwjm3

This front office doesnt care about framing. It is just best to accept it and move on. We are always a bit behind the times.

StockroomSnail

… and the division leader.

NateDPT12

Does Grandal qualify as, “Giving a 3 year deal to someone entering their decline phase” to Hahn? Is McCann’s contract guaranteed?

This seems like a bridge deal to hold the spot for a year or less until Collins and Zavala are deemed ready, though do they really want to roll into 2020 with 2 rookie catchers? Or are they planning on picking up Castillo’s option.  Grandal seemingly is a more stable bridge than finding a backup for this year. Again, they can’t expect the flip the switch and expect to contend in 2020. They need to start getting substantially better now. 

I wonder if they’re going to add to the rotation anymore for this year or if they’re going with an open spot to be filled by Covey etc.  until Dunning and Cease are ready to slide in.  

I don’t think this move signals anything on Harper/Machado.

knoxfire30

OBVIOUSLY we are going with the movie Major League rebuild script where dog poop ownership tries to make the team as cheap and bad as possible but out of nowhere they win anyway

roke1960

We’re talking about a back-up at a position where we will likely have 2 players start the season at AAA. They have decided that Castillo is the starting catcher this year. Now you can question management on whether he should be the starter this year, but I doubt that McCann will be with the club by July. This a bridge deal til either Zevala or Collins are ready. Plus like dwjm3 said below, it’s obvious this management doesn’t care much about framing. Let’s wait and see what happens the rest of the offseason before we talk about a “dog poop” ownership.

MadManx

Collins will never be ready.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Triple this

Trooper Galactus

They could have avoided a bridge deal altogether by just holding on to Smith, who cost even less and was arguably better overall.

At least he could it

Accidentally the whole thing

Digger910

?‍♀️

Greg Nix

Completely unjustifiable at this point in the winter. If they struck out on better options, McCann (or a similar player like Hundley) would have been available in February.

Wtf Rick.

HallofFrank

Grandal would have been nice, but I’m just not that upset by this. Catcher is one of the few positions where we have a passible, MLB caliber player. There are so many holes elsewhere. $2.5m seems a little heavy for a backup catcher, though.

It also doesn’t seem obvious to me that Grandal is no longer an option. McCann is presumably a backup either way. If we did sign Grandal, I assume Castillo was going to be gone in a salary dump trade anyway. I’m not sure signing a backup (something we would have needed to do anyway) makes signing Grandal less likely?

karkovice squad

As it turns out, disheartened was the correct response to Castillo being the last man standing.

asinwreck

Are we absolutely certain Rick doesn’t think he signed Brian McCann?

Trooper Galactus

That was actually my initial thought when I saw it on Twitter this morning.

jorgefabregas

We shall see, but I’m not *necessarily* sure that this precludes signing Grandal. It could be that they were planning to unload Castillo if/when they were able to acquire Grandal or someone similar and thus signing a backup was on the checklist no matter what. I’m not sure that Castillo is someone you’d want to play 120 games at this point in his career.

denbum

even so, jorge – McCann as a backup is still a step in reverse….need a downright plus plus defender at catcher on this team ..

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, McCann has arguably shown he is not a major league quality player of any sort. The ability to control the running game doesn’t count for much when your hitting and framing both suck.

denbum

BS move by a BS organization. By moving Omar & Kevan, it appeared that WSox were realizing that too many positions are manned by AAAA players and it’s time to get serious. Top catching prospects are entering their FOURTH year in minors and the only plus is that Collins MIGHT make it as a DH/1B. Drafting 3rd probably will get them Ruschman or Longeliers and let’s hope they’re MLB ready ASAP. All of us fans – while hoping for a pie-in-the-sky chance of adding Realmutu, Grandal, – (and would accept a band-aid as Maldanado or any defensive specialist) – can face reality and wonder why we keep listening to Hahn blow smoke about acquiring elite talent. McCann is another Avila, Soto, Dionner………wonder why the seats at GRF are empty?….wonder why TV viewers are miniscule? For days we hear Harper, Machado, Grandal…..let’s see how ticket sales spike for McCann.

Trooper Galactus

I only wish McCann were another Avila or Soto. That would actually have been tolerable as a backup.

Ugh.

Ugh.

MrStealYoBase

I didn’t know that a backup catching signing could make me this angry. I think it’s that it was finally starting to feel like they had a coherent plan and weren’t going to put up with putting total b.s. on the field. This shatters that illusion. There’s no way that this makes any sense for the future or present of this team. I can see this signing in February if they need to fill the roster spot, but no, they went out and made sure to get this guy. What a joke. Good teams don’t settle for extreme mediocrity anywhere in the depth chart.

Jer-in-Az

This one is a real gut punch. I guess the market on James McCann was really heating up…Hahn seems to always be 1 step behind the market in free agency. 

Eagle Bones

I went and checked his BP player page before commenting, hoping I was misremembering something about how much he sucked. Sadly I didnt. I agree that the timing of this is the odd thing. If they struck out on a bunch of other guys and needed a catcher in February then ok, I dont like it but whatever. But now? With all of these other catchers available? I dont get it.

zerobs

According to Fangraphs, he ranks #2 defensively over the last 3 seasons and #3 last year. The Rangers paid 3.25 millionto Jeff Mathis who is older and no better. The price of poker went up, no reason to blame Hahn for that.
The idea that Kevan Smith is a better catcher than McCann is laughable – only two catchers ranked worse defensively than Smith. I’m not saying Fangraphs’ defensive numbers should be taken as gospoel, but McCann and Smith are at opposite ends!

Trooper Galactus

Smith actually hit reasonably well and was a better framer by a decent margin. They wasted $2 million to make a lateral move that will make life harder for their pitchers.

Eagle Bones

It’s not that their defensive stats aren’t to be taken as gospel, it’s that they ignore the largest component of catcher defense entirely.

zerobs

You can argue that it’s important, but Fangraphs has argued that the data suggest framing numbers have not been useful predictors from year to year. I’m not going to rip the front office for not placing the highest value on a statistic that has a weak corrlation year to year for individual players. It’s clear their direction at the position is players that do better at controlling the running game considering they allowed 50 more stolen bases than their nearest division rival.

Trooper Galactus

Except a major component of holding back the opponent’s running game is the pitcher on the mound. We used a lot of young right-handed pitchers who were not skilled in this arena, and I’m not sure McCann would necessarily have made a huge impact because of that. Besides, if it’s a choice between allowing fewer stolen bases and getting strikes called as strikes, I’d opt for the latter. While framing numbers are not predictive, a trend generally forms, and though outliers happen, bad framers tend to stay bad and good ones tend to stay good.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Mathis was one of the best framers in baseball last year, hence the reason why teams still want him around. If a McCann was the better choice than I wish Texas would have scooped him up weeks ago.

lil jimmy

I’m fine with this. Perfectly fine with it. A get me over catcher was all I wanted for Christmas.
Thanks Santa.

karkovice squad

They spent $2.5m to, at best, be no better off than before they released Smith.

And they still need a starting catcher.

shaggy65

I don’t love the move (because there are SO many other options out there) but I get it. We sold high on Omar and we are buying low on McCann. He’s an mlb-caliber back-up in his “prime”. If 2017 McCann shows up again then we get to keep him for a couple years. If not, we aren’t tied to a declining mid-30’s catcher when we’re in our real compete window. (Note: 2019 was never gonna be our World Series year anyway.)

For all the hand-wringing about the Flowers non-tender, this is essentially the same thing–except this time we’re the team benefiting. Let’s make the Tigers whine about this move for years!

metasox

FWIW, McCann had a tough time during the last offseason when his wife gave birth to premature twins. Could be a factor in areas where he dropped off last season.
https://www.mlb.com/news/tigers-catcher-james-mccann-bulks-up/c-269111362

lil jimmy

Wrong discussion my friend. This is the “Sky is falling ” tread.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, I don’t see how you can begrudge those of us who have the feeling of “I’ve seen this movie before”.

lil jimmy

As I have said before, I don’t see it your way.
At all. The histrionics here today are beyond the pale.

lil jimmy

Well he’s expected to be the second catcher. I bet he meets with Alan Thomas this week. They change his diet, increase his flexibility, and endurance. Knock off the 25 lbs. After which he will be more productive than Smith or Narvaez. If the Sox did not see upside, they would not sign him.

karkovice squad

The Sox also saw upside in getting rid of Flowers, adding Avila, and bringing in Navarro. We have plenty of reason to question what they think they see.

Trooper Galactus

Except he was bad in 2017 also.

Yolmer

It’s probably a bad move. They obviously value controlling the run game a lot. But it’s a backup catcher, so some perspective too. Plus, maybe they legit think they can unlock some value in his hitting.

ndsoxfan

Deep breaths.  It’s a backup catcher that’s basically free.  Reeeeeeeelax.  They could trade Castillo and sign Grandal tomorrow or maybe it’s an invite to spring training and he doesn’t even make the team.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

You know who else was basically free? Smith, because we already had him and he cost 2 million dollars less…

ndsoxfan

Free and more free.  Don’t care either way

Foulkelore

Yonder Alonso? An attempt to woo Machado (his brother-in-law), or do they have a trade in the works involving Abreu … or both?

asinwreck

Could also mean Palka may be moved. Alonso is the most interesting move of the day.

Trooper Galactus

WTF are they even giving up for him? In nine seasons he’s never even posted 2.0 bWAR, and if there’s one position they had plenty of depth at it’s first base. If this portends an Abreu trade, yeah, I’d say not only are Harper and Manny not coming, but they’re actively working toward another 100-loss season at this rate.

Marty34

Saw it first on Stadium’s twitter feed. Was looking at earlier tweets and they posted a picture of Harper in a Sox uniform this morning. Reinsdorf is an owner of Stadium.

dongutteridge

What were the Sox to do? Block the # 10 overall pick in the draft? Their catcher of the future, Zack Collins. 

Trooper Galactus

“Catcher” of the future.

dwjm3

The White Sox often times don’t have to worry about blocking their first round picks as they tend to not be good

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Collins will never make it out of Charlotte except for injury call ups

jose robcada

idk like every report including players have said collins improvement as a catcher has been massive compared to the previous year… even on future sox podcast dylan cease said he was way better during the year than he saw during spring training so there is hope at least… most guys seem to like throwing to him

not to mention even if he doesnt work out it seems pretty likely according to boards that either rushcman or langelier could be our pick next year (even tho im praying witt jr falls to us) which could replace collins if he doesnt work out after like 2 years of trial (im a believer in zavala at minimum being a solid backup)

Trooper Galactus

Hubbub seems to be Alex Call primary piece for Alonso. Somebody give Josh a hug.

dongutteridge

What’s the difference between Palka and Alonso? Oh yeah $9 mil. 

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Palka will have to be traded. I wouldn’t even want Palka to platoon in the outfield if we don’t get Harper….

Jer-in-Az

Not sure why we should send a name brand prospect when the Indians already had 3 players for 1B/DH and are actively trying to dump salary to try and retain there top pitchers.  Today has seemed like a step forward for me, but we shall see how it all plays out.

Trooper Galactus

I dunno that Call is really a “name brand prospect” at this point. He had a decent season, but he’s blocked in the immediate term, better prospects surround him, and he’s an afterthought on our top-30 lists now. I don’t think that, value-wise, we’re necessarily getting hosed, though I personally would have demanded the Indians pick up a few million to get even a guy like Call.

dwjm3

Isn’t Alex Call a pretty good return for Alonso?…sweet mercy

dongutteridge

How much cash are the Sox getting back?

jose robcada

dont mind losing call but man why we need alonso he wasnt that good last year, this is just a recruiting tool to get machado or what, because outside of that i dont see the appeal

and theres pretty much 0 chance they let him get the 587 ab he needs for his vesting option in 2020

NateDPT12

According to Bob Nightengale, the Sox want to sign Harper AND Machado. ?

https://mobile.twitter.com/BNightengale/status/1073774460602408965

dwjm3

If they sign both of those guys James McCann can start at catcher for all I care

Trooper Galactus

Really? Is he SURE they want them both? I mean, REALLY?

StockroomSnail

Hit me with that Nihilist Arby’s, sheesh.