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McCann, Tigers reach deal to avoid arbitration

MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers began their annual task of settling arbitration cases Thursday by signing catcher James McCann to a one-year, $2.375 million contract.

The deal avoids arbitration with the first-time eligible catcher just before players and teams are scheduled to exchange numbers Friday. A source told MLB.com Detroit agreed to one-year deals with relievers Shane Greene and Alex Wilson on Friday, leaving two more eligible players yet to sign for 2018: shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Reliever Blaine Hardy and the Tigers avoided arbitration with a one-year deal earlier this offseason. The Tigers have not faced an arbitration ruling on a player since 2001.

DETROIT -- The Tigers began their annual task of settling arbitration cases Thursday by signing catcher James McCann to a one-year, $2.375 million contract.

The deal avoids arbitration with the first-time eligible catcher just before players and teams are scheduled to exchange numbers Friday. A source told MLB.com Detroit agreed to one-year deals with relievers Shane Greene and Alex Wilson on Friday, leaving two more eligible players yet to sign for 2018: shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Reliever Blaine Hardy and the Tigers avoided arbitration with a one-year deal earlier this offseason. The Tigers have not faced an arbitration ruling on a player since 2001.

The 27-year-old McCann has established himself as a strong-armed backstop in his four seasons as a Tiger, and is in line to take a bigger clubhouse leadership role on a young roster as Detroit rebuilds. The University of Arkansas product set career highs last year with a .733 OPS, 13 home runs, 39 runs scored and 49 RBIs with a 1.4 WAR according to Baseball Reference, while batting .253 (89-for-352). For his career, he's a .247 hitter with a .681 OPS.

McCann has been better known in his Tigers tenure for his defense, throwing out 37 percent of would-be basestealers for his career. He threw out 24 of 81 last year for a 29.6 percent rate -- sixth-best among American League catchers -- while being charged with 10 passed balls.

McCann heads into Spring Training as the unquestioned starter behind the plate. General manager Al Avila said last week on the TigerTalk Hot Stove radio show that the team would likely go year to year with McCann and other arbitration-eligible Tigers, though he said they explored a multi-year extension for Castellanos early in the offseason.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, James McCann