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McCann declines Braves' qualifying offer

ATLANTA -- Catcher Brian McCann took another step toward a big payday by declining the qualifying offer the Braves made him last week.

There's certainly no reason to be surprised that McCann declined this one-year offer, worth $14.1 million. The seven-time All-Star is one of the most attractive options on the free-agent market and could end up getting a five-year contract worth somewhere north of $80 million.

Now that the offer has been declined, the Braves will be compensated with a Draft pick when McCann makes his expected decision to play elsewhere next year. When a player rejects a qualifying offer and signs with another club, his former team receives a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the next First-Year Player Draft. The signing club then loses its first-round selection, unless it is a top 10 pick, in which case it would lose its next-highest selection.

Although McCann still has the option of returning to Atlanta, his hometown, all expectations are that he will be playing for a different organization for the first time since the Braves selected him in the second round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. The Rangers, Yankees and Red Sox are among the teams expected to make a strong attempt to sign the 29-year-old, who could be used as both a catcher and designated hitter in the American League.

McCann burst upon the Major League scene as a baby-faced 21-year-old in 2005, and four months later homered off Roger Clemens in his first career postseason at-bat, in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, against the Astros. That is just one of the many memorable moments he has created while compiling a .277 career batting average and collecting 176 home runs -- the most by any Major League catcher since the start of the 2005 season.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for

Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann