James McCann: Can He Replace Wilson Ramos?

Veteran James McCann is the player that the Mets should look to fill the void left by Wilson Ramos. The team has declinedRamos’ club option, making him a free agent. For the Mets, it leaves them without a bonafide starting catcher.

Of course, there is potential that the Mets sign J.T. Realmuto. However, the team can take other routes. The Mets still have Tomas Nido, who showed in the 2020 season that he could be a serviceable catcher. But what if the Mets decide to go the free agency route but not bring in Realmuto? James McCann is undoubtedly an excellent alternative option.

James McCann Vs Wilson Ramos

Replacing Wilson Ramos is not going to be incredibly tricky, mostly based on his most recent statistics. Ramos had just a .239 batting average to go with five home runs and 15 RBIs, a very underwhelming year at the plate. Additionally, Ramos cost the Mets several games with his glove. To name one example, the Phillies walked off the Mets on a play at the plate that shouldn’t have even been close. Michael Conforto made a perfect throw home, but Ramos was unable to get the tag down. That play, among so many others, really made it seem evident that Ramos’ time in New York was coming to an end. Ramos’ overall defensive runs saved this year was -1, according to Fangraphs

Last year, McCann hit seven home runs and knocked in 15 runs, similar to Ramos. However, McCann recorded a .289 batting average, which was much better than Ramos’ .239 average.

McCann’s defense is what blows Wilson out of the water. McCann had a +5 defensive runs saved last year. Runners stole 28 bases on Wilson Ramos, who threw out just six base stealers. Runners stole just eight bases on McCann, and he threw out four base stealers. McCann could be an adequate replacement for a couple of years until prospect Francisco Alvarez is ready. McCann has experience in the league and is strong defensively. That’s all you can ask for from a catcher, where defense is so important. 

Conclusion:

The contract for McCann would be nowhere near as expensive as a J.T. Realmuto contract. It looks like Realmuto will be demanding a contract of more than five years and in the six figures. Meanwhile, McCann is coming off of a one-year, $5.4 million contract that he signed with the Chicago White Sox for 2020. His numbers are pretty good, yet he will not be commanding a pay raise like Realmuto.

McCann will likely be getting a contract in the seven to ten million dollar range for one or two years. However, that number is a high estimate, with the MLB owners losing a bit of money due to the pandemic. The pandemic has also led to both an unwillingness to spend and payroll cuts. McCann is a reliable catching option, and there undoubtedly will be some interest from other teams. 

McCann would be a perfect stop-gap for the Mets. His bat is serviceable, and his glove is a significant upgrade over Ramos. With the soon to be 19-year-old Alvarez ready to break into the league, McCann is a good short term option. It allows the Mets to find a solid player at catcher while not clogging up their system’s young talent. McCann could certainly replace Wilson Ramos. 

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