McCann a bad free-agent gamble

Any team that gives the catcher $100 million is going to regret it

Updated: October 18, 2013, 12:25 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | ESPN Insider

McCannDaniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsIf the rumors are true, Brian McCann's free-agent contract will be sky high.
For the Atlanta Braves, the 2013 season ended prematurely, with the franchise getting dispatched in four games by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. There's little time for the Braves to ponder that unpleasant coda, as the team's starting catcher going back to summer of 2005, Brian McCann, will hit the free-agent market.

That McCann will come at a hefty price is not in doubt, and it's unlikely the Braves will be willing to bring him back. Earlier this week, one MLB general manager told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York that McCann's next contract could top the $100 million mark. But does McCann's value going forward really match that price or would that be a case of paying for past rather than future performance?

Don't pay for the tools of ignorance

Eclipsing the $100 million mark is no longer a groundbreaking contract, with baseball history now having 46 deals of $100 million or more. However, you don't see a lot of catchers topping that mark. Joe Mauer's eight-year, $184 million contract and Buster Posey's nine-year, $167 million deal lap the field, by far the richest among those that have worn the tools of ignorance. One reason to wonder about McCann's future value is the very nature of playing catcher, a grueling physical position.