2012 Topps Heritage #306It's funny that this card features these two particular backstops. Topps must have some sort of seer working for them.
In case you missed it, the Cardinals recently signed Yadier Molina to a 5-year, $75 million extension. With McCann's contract about to expire at the end of the 2013 season (he's actually signed through this season, with a club option for '13), one has to wonder if Molina is getting $15 million/year, what is Mac worth on the open market? $18, $20 million per year? Probably, should he stay healthy.
Molina's contract, in my opinion, has extinguished any hope the Braves might have in signing McCann beyond his current contract. He will be thirty by the time of his impending free-agency, and will be needing to play another position at least part of the time in order to save his legs and prolong his career-something like DH, which only an American League team can offer.While McCann has been strictly a catcher, first base is always a possibility-only not in Atlanta. Plus, given the Braves current payroll, which probably won't be increasing anytime soon, it doesn't make sense to tie up twenty percent of the payroll in a player who will be an aging catcher. As much as I like BMac, his value is in being a catcher who hits. Move him off behind the plate, and he doesn't have anywhere near the value he does as a catcher- again, only my opinion.
Another factor in the decision: the team has to love what they're seeing from catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, who's looking like he will be major league ready by late '13. Bethancourt tore up the AFL both at and behind the plate. He has been equally impressive this spring, with manager Fredi Gonzalez stating that the young catcher is already defensively ready for the Show.
Atlanta will be facing a tough decision with this contract situation. Do they risk alienating a part of the fan base by letting go of the local kid who's loved in the community, the guy whom Chipper Jones heralded Thursday as the face of the franchise?