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Tigers, James McCann agree on 1-year contract

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McCann will make $2.3 million in 2018, his first season of arbitration.

Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher James McCann, avoiding arbitration. McCann will make $2.3 million in 2018, his first season of arbitration eligibility.

McCann has been a durable starter for the past three seasons, playing a combined 325 games. His overall performance has been mixed. While he has posted generally excellent numbers throwing out baserunners, multiple sites have rated him as one of the worst pitch framers in baseball. His .247/.295/.386 line isn’t all that impressive either, but has a career 135 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

What this means: For those unfamiliar with the arbitration process, it’s important to realize that this isn’t McCann’s last season in Detroit. While McCann technically agreed on a one-year deal, he is still under club control for three more seasons. He and the Tigers will have to negotiate another deal next offseason, which will likely be another one-year deal. This is a common practice with most young players, and the Tigers have never gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since general manager Al Avila entered the organization under former GM Dave Dombrowski.

Is a long-term extension possible?: Multi-year deals are possible — J.D. Martinez signed a two-year deal with the Tigers in 2016 to lock in his last couple years of arbitration salary — but it’s rare to see a player sign a longer-term extension this close to free agency. McCann could sign another contract at any time, but it’s also worth wondering if the team is interested in committing to him as their catcher for longer than the next three seasons.

Who else will sign these deals?: As Patrick outlined earlier, the Tigers have five arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man roster, including McCann. Jose Iglesias is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, while Nick Castellanos and Alex Wilson are in year two of arbitration. McCann and Shane Greene are in their first year of arbitration eligibility.