Skip to content

Brian McCann’s free agency is everything wonderful/terrible about free agency

Nov 5, 2013, 9:29 AM EST

Crols Gomez Brian McCann AP

Free agents can sign anywhere as of midnight last night, and one of the biggest free agents on the market is Brian McCann. And for good reason: he’s a good catcher who can hit a ton. What’s not to like? Many teams, including the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers will be after him. He’s going to make bank.

Of course his free agency is also going to bring two free agency memes that I have grown to love in some twisted way. The first one is on display in this Daily News story:

McCann’s agent, B.B. Abbott, said Monday that the Bronx is “certainly a place that is on Brian’s radar. How could it not be? You’ve got an historic franchise and a great park, knowledgeable fans and a chance to win, which is what every guy plays the game for. From Brian’s standpoint, it would be an attractive place to listen to.”

That’s actually pretty strong as far as these sorts of endorsements go, likely because Abbott knows that the Yankees will be bidders. But it’s also a species of public comment about free agents we often see this time of year, and which often leads to fan and talk radio craziness.

In essence, it’s a player or his agent saying true, non-controversial things about a city because, really, what else does one say? Yet whenever someone says something fairly benign like this, it’s taken as some strong signal that the player is seriously, seriously interested. Indeed, anything short of “[city] is a cesspool” launches free agent chatter about this player being “linked” to that city. It’s right up there with “[Player X] will sign with [Team Y] because he grew up nearby.” Which rarely happens with top free agents.

By the way: Scott Boras can be annoying, but he’s also pretty brilliant. He was aware of this meme years ago, which is why he can usually be found saying things about his clients and certain cities. Remember when Johnny Damon liked calamari? That was to get Detroit people chattering and, hopefully, to make Detroit’s front office feel fan pressure.  If Abbott is wise, he’ll come out tomorrow talking about how much McCann likes chowder. The good kind, that is. Not that tomato-y crap.

The other thing I bet we’ll see at the end of McCann’s free agency is The Great Fan Turn. You know what I’m talking about: when a player who is loathed for some reason is suddenly seen in an entirely new light the moment he appears in his new team’s uniform. We’ll see it with McCann, I can bet you a million bucks. The same fans who made fun of McCann’s antics and yelling during the Carlos Gomez and Jose Fernandez home runs — the people who mocked him and forwarded Photoshops of McCann yelling during great moments in history — will suddenly come around to McCann’s “passion.” They’ll have some newfound perspective about it all, and will come to appreciate his fire.

And, of course, Braves fans who got all bent out of shape when people criticized McCann will begin to proclaim that they always really kinda hated that guy.

Which is fine. It’s sports and that’s how sports and sports fans roll. We’re irrational and we root for laundry and we can be talked into almost anything and anyone if they’re on our team. We may pretend we’re more objective about it — the folks who see McCann in a new light after he signs his contract will mostly claim that they’ve thought about it more rather than felt something visceral once he put on their teams cap at a press conference —  but after writing about sports and interacting with sports fans for seven years, the thing I am the most confident of is that the single most predictive piece of data for one’s position on any given issue in sports is what team one roots for.

So bring on the free agent rumors and signings. And bring on the fan reactions. All of it ads to the fun and chaos of the hot stove season.

Follow @craigcalcaterra

Latest Posts
  1. Padres expected to host 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:25 PM EST

    Petco Park

    Everything’s coming up Padres lately.

  2. Dodgers release Brian Wilson

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:31 PM EST

    Brian Wilson Getty Getty Images

    Brian Wilson and his beard are back on the free agent market after the Dodgers released him on Friday.

  3. Red Sox sign Craig Breslow to $2 million deal

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:20 PM EST

    Craig Breslow Getty Getty Images

    The Red Sox have brought back lefty Craig Breslow on a one-year deal for $2 million.

  4. Wil Myers could play center field for the Padres

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EST

    wil myers getty Getty Images

    The Padres’ outfield should hit a lot of homers in 2015, but they may give back a lot of those runs on defense.

  5. Orioles hire hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh

    Dec 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EST

    orioles logo

    The Orioles have settled on a new hitting coach: Scott Coolbaugh.

  6. Giants acquire Casey McGehee from the Marlins

    Dec 19, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

    casey mcgehee getty Getty Images

    The Giants are looking to solve their third base dilemma with Casey McGehee.

  7. Report: David Ross to sign with the Cubs

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:18 PM EST

    David Ross Getty Images

    Jon Lester now has a personal catcher.

  8. More from the underbelly of the A-Rod Conspiracy Industrial Complex

    Dec 19, 2014, 4:47 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

    All baseball moves the Yankees make must be construed as pro-A-Rod or anti-A-Rod. There are literally no other reasons the Yankees make baseball moves.

  9. Baseball will lobby to have Congress exempt minor leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act

    Dec 19, 2014, 3:25 PM EST

    Minor League baseball

    Minor League Baseball’s top lobbyist wants minor leaguers classified as if they were babysitters and seasonal farm workers.

  10. A’s release Nick Punto, eat $2.75 million

    Dec 19, 2014, 3:10 PM EST

    Nick Punto AP

    He’s owed $2.75 million for 2015.

  11. If you ever wanted to make “Darryl Strawberry money” now you can. Quite literally.

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    New York Mets Getty Images

    It’s complicated. But you can bid on his deferred compensation, payable by the Mets.

  12. Pirates sign Corey Hart

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:14 PM EST

    Corey Hart Getty Getty Images

    Hart was one of the best right-handed power hitters in baseball for the Brewers from 2010-2012.

  13. The Padres have given their fans something to talk about. Which is badly needed in San Diego.

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    A.J. Preller AP

    The Padres have made a flurry of moves in the past few days. It may help them win some more baseball games. But it will undeniably fire up a fan base that has had nothing to get excited about for years.

  14. Phillies “kicking the tires” on Rafael Furcal

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:13 PM EST

    Rafael Furcal Rafael Furcal

    Furcal is actually a year older than Jimmy Rollins at 37 and hasn’t been healthy since 2012

  15. Bud Selig to be named “Commissioner Emeritus”

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Bud Selig AP

    Bud is still going to be CCd on all the imporant emails, it seems.

  16. Done deal: Phillies trade Jimmy Rollins to Dodgers

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

    Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    Rollins waived his no-trade rights to facilitate a move after 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

  17. So, Cole Hamels is next for the Padres, right?

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:31 AM EST

    Cole+Hamels+Atlanta+Braves+v+Philadelphia+64GYsPWwfRzl Getty Images

    File this under “wild speculation” but it makes all kinds of sense.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. W. Myers (4379)
  2. M. Kemp (3816)
  3. M. Cabrera (3436)
  4. M. Morse (2651)
  5. J. Upton (2613)
  1. J. Kang (2426)
  2. J. Lester (2383)
  3. C. Headley (2278)
  4. A. Rios (2104)
  5. M. Scherzer (1968)