(670 The Score) White Sox catcher James McCann officially became a free agent Wednesday, a day after the World Series ended. If one of his batterymates has any say, McCann will be returning to the organization this offseason.
White Sox ace Lucas Giolito on Wednesday campaigned for the team to retain McCann in free agency.
“I’m fully on board the re-sign train,” Giolito said in an interview with Danny Parkins and Cody Decker on 670 The Score.
Giolito followed up that comment by pointing out it’s not his role to decide that, but if the team’s front office needed any reminder, he had plenty of praise for McCann. Expressing an understanding of the business aspect, Giolito also acknowledged he has concern about losing McCann in free agency.
“He’s huge for our team,” Giolito said. “The impact he has on the offensive side is great, on the defensive side is great. I obviously really love throwing to him. It doesn’t mean that I can’t throw to anyone else. I feel like if I have a nice spring training to be able to work with (Yasmani Grandal) more, to be able to work with Zack (Collins) more, we’re going to be able to find a great common ground that we can work from and have a nice season coming up next year. But I think that McCann just brings a lot of things to our team.”
McCann has been an influential figure in Giolito’s breakout across the past two seasons, catching almost every start of his. The two have a strong bond. Giolito went 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 2020, which included him throwing a no-hitter with McCann behind the plate.
“The impact he had not just on this last season but the one before, we share a very special connection,” Giolito said. “Obviously, throwing a no-hitter together, being in the history books in that sense, that’s something we’ll always have for the rest of our careers together, but even more so, kind of the lead-up to it. We both had very down years in 2018. Mine was like historically bad. His was just like a pretty down year considering the type of player he is.
“Then 2019, for the both of us, it was kind of like that redemption arc of we’re going to make adjustments, we’re going to do what we need to do to find that success and regain our footing in this league. And we did it together, which is really, really special. And it’s only grown from there.
“And aside from just me, his impact on the team is unbelievable.”
McCann, 30, hit .289 with an .896 OPS in 31 games in 2020. He was also been named a Gold Glove finalist. Just how much he factors into the White Sox’s offseason plans remains unclear, as the team still has primary catcher Yasmani Grandal under contract for three more seasons.
Grandal made 32 starts at catcher, seven at designated hitter and six at first base this season. McCann made 27 starts at catcher. The White Sox could have more at-bats opening up at designated hitter, as they’re expected to decline their $12-million option on Edwin Encarnacion after he struggled mightily in 2020.