Friday, August 9, 2013

Thoughts on Brian McCann - in the words of Matt Childs (@Matiavelli)

News Photo: Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves rounds the…
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves rounds the bases after hitting a fourth inning three run home run against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 30, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

One thing I love more than most anything in sports is when a player spends the entirety of his career in one uniform. Loyalty is easily my favorite quality in a professional athlete. Derek Jeter is, and always will be a Yankee. Craig Biggio was never seen without a star on his hat. Chipper was one of the defining faces of the Braves for two decades. While I would love for Brian McCann to stay in Atlanta for the remainder of his career, the question has to be asked, is he worth it? Without a doubt, McCann has been the best offensive catcher since he entered the league in 2005 and I feel I speak for all of Braves Country when I say I would love to sign him to an extension this offseason, but the decision to bring him back isn’t as cut and dry as most would like to believe. McCann is due for a major pay raise this winter. He will more than likely be willing to take a hometown discount, but even with that he will demand a major heap of cash and with the young, budding stars on the Braves roster, that money could be better spent elsewhere. The old saying, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” is very appropriate in this situation. While we could make McCann a Brave for life, it could mean restricting our ability to lock up players like Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, all free agents in 2016 and 2017. Of course, the money that would be spent on McCann wouldn’t come close to paying for all of those contracts, but as we are all well aware, the payroll for the Braves has been tight in recent years and every dollar matters. Evan Gattis has proven that he has the ability to hang with Major League pitching and has looked good behind the plate, not to mention his arm is better than McCann’s. There is already an issue of finding playing time for Gattis and bringing McCann back would only draw out that problem. The major question mark that would come with Gattis is his inexperience at the professional level, but Gerald Laird easily solves that issue with his veteran presence. Contrary to popular belief among Braves Fam, Laird has been a productive player when given the playing time and the argument can be made that he is a huge part of the advancement of Julio Teheran this season. The Braves are set at catcher for the foreseeable future with Gattis and Laird, so we are more than likely watching the final games for Brian McCann in a Braves uniform. Enjoy them while you can. And from all of Braves Country, thank you for the memories, B-Mac.

--Matt Childs

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