CHICAGO -- The White Sox announced on Monday they have agreed to terms on a one-year, $5.4 million deal with catcher James McCann. The club also declined to tender 2020 contracts to right-handed pitcher Ryan Burr, left-handed pitcher Caleb Frare and infielder Yolmer Sánchez, and released right-hander Thyago Vieira so he could pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.
All remaining unsigned players on the White Sox 40-man roster have been tendered contracts for the 2020 season, and following the moves, Chicago's 40-man drops to 36. Infielder/outfielder Leury García, right-handed setup man Evan Marshall, left-handed starter Carlos Rodón and closer Alex Colomé, who are all arbitration-eligible, were part of that group tendered contracts.
McCann, who was non-tendered by Detroit a little more than one season ago, joined the White Sox via a one-year, $2.5 million free-agent deal on Dec. 19, 2018, earning his first American League All-Star selection in '19. The 29-year-old hit .273 with 26 doubles, 18 home runs, 60 RBIs and 62 runs scored in 118 games last season. Among AL catchers with at least 100 games in 2019, he ranked among the leaders in batting average (third), on-base percentage (third, .328), total bases (third, 202), extra-base hits (third, 45), slugging percentage (tied for third, .460) and RBIs.
After producing a .316/.371/.502 slash line in the first half of 2019 to complement nine home runs and 30 RBIs, McCann dipped to .226/.281/.413, nine home runs and 30 RBIs in the second half. White Sox pitchers raved about McCann’s game preparation and game-calling, especially staff ace Lucas Giolito, who finished tied for sixth in the AL Cy Young Award voting and had a great battery relationship with McCann.
Yasmani Grandal already has joined the White Sox via a four-year, $73 million deal as the team’s primary catcher, but manager Rick Renteria spoke last week of talking to McCann and making it work for both players involved. Grandal and McCann, along with current third catcher Zack Collins, could see some time at first base and designated hitter.
Sánchez, 27, earned his first career AL Gold Glove Award this past season at second base, one year after playing solid defense at third. The switch-hitter also was a galvanizing clubhouse presence and wanted to stay with the only team he has ever known, but his offense dipped a bit in 2019 (.321 slugging percentage, .638 OPS), and his $6.2 million salary projected through arbitration by MLB Trade Rumors also influenced the move.
Nick Madrigal, the team’s No. 4 prospect and No. 40 in baseball per MLB Pipeline, figures to take over at second base for the White Sox at some point in the 2020 season. Sánchez could still end up back with Chicago, but he figures to draw other interest around baseball for more regular playing time.