Sep 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann hits a RBI single in the 9th inning of their game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The $100 million Catcher?

An Andrew Marchand blog post on ESPN.com quotes an unnamed major league General Manager as suggesting that Brian McCann‘s next contract could be worth a robust $100m over the next six years.

The context of this quote appears to include Brian’s transition to DH and/or first base over the latter stages of that future contract, obviously conditioned on an American League club making the offer.  Marchand goes on to mention his own suggestion that the Yankees be in on the bidding for McCann’s services.

A six-year deal would extend through Brian’s 35th birthday year, as he’ll turn 30 next February.  A $100m price tag would have an average annual value (AAV) of $16.67m.  An AL club would be must better positioned to make such an offer, given the availability of the DH position.   This presents an obvious built-in disadvantage for any NL team in need of his services – the Braves included – as Brian transitions into his next decade of life… the time period in which catchers tend to decline rapidly in performance.

It is widely expected that the Braves will present Brian and his agent (BB Abbott) with the perfunctory Qualifying Offer – a one-year deal at or near $14.1m – and then they shake hands as he entertains multi-year AL offers this coming off-season…while the Braves collect an extra draft pick in the compensation round (after round 1) next June.  But this $100m suggestion represents one of the first big numbers published as to what Brian might expect to end up with.

Such a deal is hardly without precedent:  Joe Mauer is the poster child for catcher contracts – as Marchand pointed out:  $184 million over eight years.  More recently, the yardstick for McCann had been Yadier Molina‘s 5×15 ($75 million) contract with St. Louis. But the top ‘non-DH catching’ contract currently out there belongs to the Giants’ Buster Posey:  9 years/$164 million.

Both the Giants and Cardinals managed to lock up their catching stars into their mid-30’s.  Molina is 31 – his deal runs through 2017; Posey is 26; he’ll be 34 when that deal ends.  The Braves went only “halfway” with McCann – overall, a 7 year deal worth $41.3 million after picking up the 2013 option.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Brian Mccann

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