Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Braves lock up McCann through 2012.

Just a few hours ago, the Atlanta Braves announced that they have signed All-Star catcher, Brian McCann to a 6-year $27.8M extension through 2012 and an option for 2013. McCann now becomes the highest paid player with less than two years of major league experience, passing up the deal Grady Sizemore signed with the Cleveland Indians last season, which was 6-years $23.45M. According the McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott, there could be escalators that could take the value of the contract to $29.8 million.

"This is a great deal for both parties," Abbott said. "I was really blown away that the Braves were willing to do this. This isn't something that they've traditionally done with players who have one-plus years of service."

The deal was done quickly despite the fact the Atlanta Braves have never offered a long-term deal to any player until they've completed their arbitration-eligible years, the Braves began contract-extension negotiations with both McCann and outfielder Jeff Francoeur at the beginning of March. Francoeur's has yet to be completed and it is believed that the counter offer that Fancoeur's agent, Steve Hammond, was nearly double the original offer the Braves had given him. Hopefully a deal can be worked out soon enough.

"Brian's age, his performance last year and the club's willingness allowed this to happen," Abbott said. "This is only something that happens when a club has great confidence in a player."

After hitting .333 with 24 HRs and 93 RBI's last year in his first full major league season it is no wonder the Braves wanted to lock up McCann. Not only did McCann receive an All-Star selection, he also received the NL's Silver Slugger award and showcased himself as the National League's best catcher. The only other catcher that had a higher batting average than McCann was the Minnesota Twin's, Joe Mauer, who hit .347 but only 13 HR's and 84 RBI's.

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