2013 Team: Atlanta Braves
Key 2013 Stats: .256 AVG/.336 OBP/.461 SLG/20 HR/57 RBI
As the catcher for the Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann has been a standout for many years. This season, he took his game to another level when he was apparently named the official protector of baseball’s unwritten rules.
You may remember the Carlos Gomez incident. Or when he didn’t care for the way that Jose Fernandez was acting. Fans across the nation can rest easy knowing that McCann is around to make sure that players act the “correct way” when they step onto the baseball field.
These incidents partially overshadowed another strong season by McCann. He hit 20 home runs for the sixth straight season, and was named to the National League All-Star team for the seventh time.
Why He Might Be a Good Fit
Now that Carlos Ruiz is a free agent, the Phillies will need a new starting catcher. There are far worse options than an All-Star capable of hitting 20 home runs. Perhaps he could also supply some leadership in the Phillies clubhouse. There was a noticeable void in that department after famed leader Michael Young was traded away.
Why He Might Not Be a Good Fit
Like many of the top free agents, McCann bats left-handed which would further unbalance a lefty-heavy Phillies lineup. In addition, there’s questionable wisdom in giving a long-term contract to a soon to be 30-year-old catcher. Catchers are notorious for aging poorly, and there’s already talk that McCann would be best suited to play on an American League team where he could play some games at DH.
Despite the leadership that McCann would provide, I think there are simply too many negatives. If his power starts to decrease, then he’s not going to provide nearly as much value to their lineup. He’s also never been that highly regarded as a defender. Then again, considering the success that Braves pitchers have had in recent years, it might be naive to discount McCann’s influence.
Still, if the Phillies are going to spend money on the catcher position, it makes more sense to spend it on Carlos Ruiz. Otherwise, perhaps they should look at cheaper options.