Brian McCann started the year on the disabled list, and he may end it with a $100 million contract, or close to it.
The free-agent period has become a "perfect storm" for McCann, 29, not only because he's a lefthanded-hitting catcher with power who's a seven-time All-Star with a career .823 OPS. The biggest single factor in his favor may actually be that the four main teams in need are big-market, big-spending American League teams -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Rangers.
All four teams have spent $100 million a player before (the Yankees have obviously done it many times), so they aren't clubs to squirm over sticker shock.
The Giants and Rockies are two more of the nine teams to have interest in McCann, who hit .256 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI after missing the first month while recovering from shoulder surgery. The other three teams are not known.
The Giants are a surprise since they already possess the game's top offensive catcher, Buster Posey. Posey or McCann could play some first base, though that still doesn't seem to be as good a fit as the four big AL clubs. The Rockies are unlikely to be able to afford McCann at this point.
The Yankees went through 2013 without a true starting catcher, and eventually suffered when the outs started to pile up for the defensively adept Chris Stewart.
The Red Sox's starting catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, is a free agent who didn't receive a qualifying offer from the team.
The Angels have been interested in upgrading their catching situation. The Rangers re-signed Geovany Soto and have suggested he'll get significant playing time as the catcher. But McCann could play first base or DH if he moved over to the Amercan League.
There's so much interest he might easily beat the common $80 million, five-year estimate for him. One executive with an interested team said he figures all the interested teams will be in the same ballpark, and McCann will have to end up just picking where he'd most like to play. But in free agency, with a special player, there's always the threat of a blow-away offer.
Wherever he chooses to play, he's headed for a monster contract.