Unsurprisingly, James McCann appears to be a popular man this winter.
Plenty of White Sox fans are holding out hope that the free-agent catcher will return to the South Side, and the team would surely like to see that, too. But McCann did enough in his two years in a White Sox uniform to earn a spot atop a major league depth chart, and there seem to be several teams interested in giving him just that this offseason.
According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, four teams — the New York Yankees, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels — have already shown interest in McCann's services. Additionally, Heyman tweeted, the Philadelphia Phillies are believed to be interested in McCann in the event they're unable to retain their own free-agent backstop, J.T. Realmuto.
Heyman added that the White Sox, too, would be keen on keeping McCann around, pointing out, however, that McCann has earned a starter's job. The White Sox can't assure him of that after they inked Yasmani Grandal to the richest free-agent deal in club history last winter.
But McCann figures to get a starter's playing time — and a starter's money — elsewhere. Will it be with one of the teams Heyman listed?
The Yankees are looking for an upgrade at catcher after Gary Sánchez disappointed in 2020, batting just .147. The Mets are in the market for a catcher, too, and with their new owner, Steve Cohen, promising big free-agent spending, perhaps that's where Realmuto, the top catcher on the free-agent market, lands. That could send the Phillies in McCann's direction as they look to stay afloat in the hyper-competitive NL East. The Cardinals are potentially on the verge of their first Yadier Molina-less season since 2003. And the Angels always seem ready to spend in an attempt to get Mike Trout to the playoffs.
As McCann himself has said, he's not going to burn any bridges or completely rule out a return to the South Side. But the White Sox have their own offseason priorities to address, and perhaps one of these clubs ends up being McCann's free-agent destination.