Orioles acquire James McCann from Mets

10:07 pm: Both teams announced a trade to send McCann and money to Baltimore for a player to be named later. Designated Orioles Tyler Nevin to clear a spot on their 40-man roster.

10:01 pm: O’s assumes that $5 million of the $24 million still to be paid on McCann’s contract, Feinsand adds (Twitter link). New York will start at $19 million over the next two seasons.

9:54 PM: New York is acquiring a player who will be named later in the deal, MLB.com’s Mark Vinesand reports (on Twitter).

9:53 PM: Orioles acquire catcher James McCann From the Mets, ESPN’s Jeff Bassan reports (Twitter link).

The Mets have been shopping McCann in recent days. New York agreed to terms with Omar Narvez On a two-year contract last Thursday. As soon as news of this agreement broke, it became clear that the Mets were likely to deal with one of their current roadblocks. No, no, no Thomas nest They could be sent to the minor leagues, and carrying three catchers to the 26-man roster was a challenge. This is before considering a high possibility Francisco Alvarezwho will get an expanded MLB look at some point shortly after his debut in the late 2022 season.

McCann was at least certain of a place on the list of candidates in Baltimore. The O’s entered the day with only one catcher on their 40-man roster, making bringing in some help from outside the organization an imperative. Of course, this assistant is the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Adley Rochman. McCann will have to move into a backup role with the O’s. He will add a veteran presence to captain Brandon Hyde’s bench.

The past two seasons have been tough on McCann, who first joined the Mets during the 2020-21 season. New York has placed a big bet on the veteran’s previous even seasons with the White Sox. The University of Arkansas product hits 0.276/.334/.474 through 587 plate appearances for Chicago between 2019-20. This easily dwarfed the .240/.288/.366 mark he had posted over the previous four seasons with the Tigers, and the Mets clearly felt he had turned into a cornerback offensively. They signed him to a four-year, $40.6 million free agent contract that easily exceeded most expectations.

New York gave McCann an extended run in his first season, starting him in 97 of 162 games in 2021. However, his production was closer to what it was in his Detroit days. 232/.294/.349 over 412 plate appearances, connecting in just 10 home runs after hitting 18 long balls in his only full season with the White Sox. However, McCann returned to the Opening Day lineup for the second season of the deal as the Mets hoped for a rebound campaign.

Not so, as he has struggled with under-performance and injury this year. The old warrior broke his left hand/wrist in the middle of May. He required surgery and lost six weeks to rehab. A few weeks after his return, he suffered a left oblique strain and was back on the injured list for just under a month. Between health setbacks, he managed a streak of just .195/.257/.282 in 61 games. By the time the postseason began, Nido was starting behind the plate. McCann was relegated to a deep role, while Alvarez was with the big league club in a hybrid role.

The past two seasons are definitely not what the Mets envisioned when they signed McCann. As a result, they were left to pay a large portion of the money left in his contract. His deal was reloaded, with a $600,000 signing bonus followed by consecutive $8 million salaries for his first two seasons. He’s due $12 million in each of the next two years, the bulk of which will remain in the Mets ledger.

While New York loses out on only $5 million in actual salary, their actual savings from the deal are slightly more than those of owner Steve Cohen and his front office. New Yorkers will break all four thresholds for the competitive credit tax, which means they pay 90% tax on every additional dollar spent. This works in reverse as well, inflating any payroll cuts beyond actual salary. Subtracting $2.5 million in annual salary over the next two seasons would result in $2.25 million in tax savings for the club in 2023, and if they cross all four tax thresholds again in 2024, $2.75 million in taxes that year. (The luxury tax contains higher penalties for teams that exceed the threshold in multiple consecutive seasons.) Finally, the savings for the Mets are likely closer to $10 million than the $5 million that the Baltimore organization is pouring out.

More is coming.


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