The Brian McCann Trickle Down Effect

Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves Catcher

Brian McCann

The Atlanta Braves have been a model organization since John Schuerholz joined the Braves in 1990 as the General Manager.  His promotion to Braves President in 2007 accentuated his influence on the organization.

Prior to the Schuerholz arrival, Atlanta Fulton County Stadium was known for bad baseball, a lousy playing field and bathrooms that smelled like barnyard.  Schuerholz brought hard work, professionalism, fairness and pride to the Braves organization.

Which brings me to thoughts on the big deals that the Braves have signed with some of their high-profile players…

The Braves opened the vault and signed Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel and Julio Teheran to long-term, big money extensions.  All three are players that the Braves drafted and developed.  Rumors are that starter Mike Minor, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and perhaps other Braves players may also be rewarded with lucrative contracts before the 2014 season begins.

So why did the Braves sign players to these long-term extensions?  The reasons we all hear in the media is that the Braves did it to show commitment to their players and fans, the new stadium will generate more income streams that made these signings possible and the Braves want to build around this core of talented players who they drafted and have come up through their farm system.

There’s other reasons I believe that these signings took place.  Team chemistry and morale are very important in professional sports.  Without dancing around, I will get right to the point.   Prior to these lucrative deals being done with Freeman, Teheran and Kimbrel, the highest paid players on the Braves team were all from other organizations. (B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla and Justin Upton).  It was time to pay the players who have come up through the Braves organization and waited their turn.

While Brian McCann, a 7-time All-Star who is a hometown boy and spent his entire career in the Braves organization was denied his money due to lack of funds, a guy like B.J. Upton was signed from another organization for the same amount of years that Brian wanted and only a few million less per year.  I think that rankled a lot of people.

Brian may only have three more years left as a regular at the catcher position, but wouldn’t you take that over what you saw from B.J. last year?

In life the best indicator of the future is what has happened in the past.  If you are a Braves player who was drafted by the Braves, worked your way through the organization and been very productive at the major league level, wouldn’t you be concerned that what happened to McCann may happen to you?

Bottom line, it was time to reward the Braves players who have come up through the organization and been the driving force behind the Braves success the past few years.  What happened with Brian McCann, could not happen again.  The perception that the Braves would give big money to players from outside the organization, while denying highly productive players from within, was unacceptable.

The Braves, as usual, made the right and fair move.

I call the move, “The Brian McCann Trickle Down Effect.”

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Jim has covered the Atlanta Braves since 2008 for local and national broadcast news organizations. He also appears regularly talking Braves baseball on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, and the ESPN Radio affiliate, 1420 Sports in St. Augustine, Florida.

Comments

  1. NorthAlabamaGM says:

    I would have let McCann walk as well if indeed our very cheap catching prospects are what the front office thinks they are or will be. Hopefully the last two major FA signings will disappear never to be seen again and we will grow an pay our own in all the time.

    • Yeah, but who would you rather have? McCann or B.J.?

      • NorthAlabamaGM says:

        Oh, yes. I didn’t like the BJ overpay to begin with. For that matter didn’t “like” the JUp trade for losing Prado but the fact that Johnson was included, I couldn’t deny the BRaves took the D’backs to the cleaners on that one. My personal preference would have been to had Gattis, Bourn, Schafer, Heyward as the 4 outfielders and Prado at 3B (or 2B even!). but oh, well we have to live with the mistakes made and move on.
        I hope they see fit to extend Heyward again if he is willing.

        • Yeah, Johnson kinda came out of nowhere to help sweeten that trade. Prado is another guy who came up through the Braves system, was a real team player, yet in the end didn’t get paid by the Braves. No organization is anywhere close to perfect when it comes to player personnel decisions. The Braves do seem to come out on top in far more than they lose.

  2. I may be wrong, but didn’t the Braves previously do the same thing with McCann in his last contract that they are doing now with their young, homegrown players, that is, buy out his remaining arb years and first few free agent years. I thought they tried to do the same with Francouer, but he rejected the deal. Whether they sign someone from outside the organization depends on a lot of factors, including other internal options and rising prospects. I would rather go with Gattis and then possibly Bethancourt in the future rather than sign McCann to a risky deal.

    • The Braves did do the same thing with McCann in his early years. Point being on the article that you have three players from outside the organization that are making all the money. Two of the three have been low production players. The young guys that came up through the organization and are doing the heavy lifting deserved to get paid.

  3. The Braves made a fair offer that included a lot of money, albeit for fewer years. Alas, McCann (who I value highly) chose the Yankees offer. No team was wrong or right. McCann had a choice, and he chose the Yankees.

  4. Wayne Canon says:

    I was never in the “McCann is Nirvana” camp.

    He was a below average defensive catcher although seemed to be good at managing pitchers. He had a descent BA but not a high RBI average. He never hit more than 24 hr’s. Those just aren’t numbers that would justify the salary he was demanding, especially considering that we had qualified replacements for him both short and long term.

    Anthony13 is correct in that Mac went for the extra years in the Yankees contract. Catchers have a notoriously low shelf life, and I can’t see Mac being proficient at any other position than DH. He was a much better fit for the Yankees than the Braves and I wish him all the luck in the world….except if we face him in the World Series :)

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