This is a bit of a conundrum… the Braves now have 2 veteran catchers on their roster. So why are we still getting still noise linking them to additional backstops?
I’m going to jump right into this icy pool with both feet. When the Atlanta Braves signed Brian McCann, it was a nice thing to see happen. But let’s face it: the team swapped out a 35-year-old catcher (Kurt Suzuki) and replaced him with one… a scant 5 months younger.
While declaring himself healthy and ready to go, you can’t escape the fact that McCann’s playing time has dwindled over the past couple of years after being a workhorse for the Braves and Yankees in years past:
Here’s his catching innings:
- 2006-2011: All over 1,000 innings, peaked at 1,143 in 2008
- 2012-2014: Between 800 and 1000
- 2015: 1,042
- 2016: 757
- 2017: 827
- 2018: 511 (counts rehab appearances)
Fun fact? Brian McCann now has caught the 4th highest number of major league innings in history of baseball (12,823). Yadi Molina (15,388) is #1, having passed up A.J. Pierzynski (15,100) last season. McCann trails both of them by a lot, but he’s just 125 innings behind Russell Martin for 3rd.
Likewise, Tyler Flowers has been scaling back time in harness as well, but he’s never had the wear and tear that McCann has endured.
Flowers exceeded 1000 catching innings only once (1052 in 2014) and has since posted 878, 686, 745, and 617 innings behind the plate.
162 games X 9 innings multiplies out to 1,458 innings per season. The Braves don’t have this covered.
At the time, I opined that the Braves would likely have to pick up a third backstop by the trade deadline – one that could assist in getting ‘McFlowers’ through the hot Summer months without wilting… which is a real problem in Atlanta.
However, it seems plausible that the team might be looking to act a bit sooner than that – and maybe they are… depending on who you’d want to believe.