The Mets went with James McCann instead of JT Realmuto in MLB free agency.
By signing the less-expensive McCann, the Mets set themselves up to add another top free agent talent somewhere down the line. While Sandy Alderson insists talks with the top-tier free agents are slow at the moment, the Mets have the money to make a deal happen, even after a season which saw significant financial losses around baseball.
New York has Steve Cohen to thank for that, making the Mets one of only a few franchises in a position to spend significant capital in the 2020 offseason. Yet, by signing McCann, the Mets basically punted on JT Realmuto. Why was this the case?
Fact is, the Mets don’t need Realmuto to contend next season
Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball, so this is no knock on him. But McCann is capable enough behind the plate to be a significant upgrade for the Mets. He’s better than replacement-level. Thus, if the Mets can address one of their other needs rather than spending a ton of money at catcher, it’s the right decision by Cohen and Co.
The Mets signed McCann to a four-year deal worth up to $40 million. Realmuto might get double that when he finally signs. New York is still favored to land one of George Springer or Trevor Bauer, both among the best players in the sport at their respective positions. Had they added Realmuto, he would’ve been the crown jewel of their 2020 free agent class. Instead, they can spread the wealth among multiple openings on the roster.
Springer feels like the most likely, as the Mets have been connected with the 30-year-old from he jump. Their willingness to offer him a long-term deal — banking on the idea that he won’t regress much as he enters his 30’s — is a bold decision, but one Cohen is comfortable making given his financial output.