Chicago White Sox: Season preview of starting catchers

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox James McCann
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

James McCann

Ever since entering the league in 2014 with the Detroit Tigers, James McCann has never quite been able to find success. Having a career batting average of .240 after five years, both McCann and the Tigers needed a change and decided to part ways after his contract expired in 2018.

McCann then signed a one year deal with division rival White Sox. For just $2.5 million, the Sox definitely got their money’s worth. He had an insane first half. On May 12, his batting average was .382. He entered the All-Star break with a .316 average and earned his first All-Star selection. Despite cooling off in the second half, only having a .226 average, McCann still ended his 2019 strong.

Hitting career highs in almost every category, it is safe to say McCann finally broke out and emerged as the player he was expected to be in Detroit. After his .273/.328/.460, 18 home run, a 26 double season, he and the White Sox avoided arbitration. For just one year and $5.4 million, many expect McCann to be used as a potential trade piece come the deadline.

With an established star in Grandal and high expectations for a prospect behind him, McCann is left in the middle. Despite his strong chemistry with the starting rotation, specifically mentioning Giolito, McCann could very well be traded. Especially since he just signed the last arbitration deal he qualifies for. Becoming an unrestricted free agent after this season, it would be foolish to let McCann walk, especially considering he may have just entered his prime.

It would be a shame to see McCann dealt. He could always be extended a year or two, but it is in his best interest to test the market if he is not offered an extension or if he feels he could get more with another team. Ignoring the teary-eyed part in all of this, the bright side is that in 2020, the White Sox will have one of the best catching duos in the league.

McCann is capable of hitting somewhere between .270-.300, at least 15 home runs and driving in about 45-60 RBIs. He will also continue to build a strong relationship with this young rotation depth and remain one of the league’s best framers.