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J.T. Realmuto won’t be a Met, although team president Sandy Alderson said they had “great conversations” with his representatives — but the failure to land the top free-agent catcher wasn’t a matter of money.
Instead, it was about striking a deal quickly.
“I think more than anything else, this was a timing issue for us,’’ Alderson said on Monday’s Zoom call to introduce new GM Jared Porter. “We have a number of needs. We can afford to wait to fill some of them. We can’t afford to wait to fill all of them.”
So while Realmuto remains available, the Mets have agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal to bring in McCann, who was designated for assignment by Detroit in 2018 but blossomed the last two seasons with the White Sox.
And Alderson insisted they got the player they wanted.
“This wasn’t a compromise pick,’’ Alderson said. “We’d been engaged with James for a considerable period of time. There’s a lot we like about James.”
McCann improved on both sides of the ball with the White Sox and comes considerably cheaper than Realmuto. The Mets are still looking to upgrade their rotation and outfield — and perhaps their bullpen.
Manager Luis Rojas will have a new bench coach this season — Dave Jauss, someone he’s already got a history with.
“One of the reasons we brought Dave on was because Luis wanted him,’’ Alderson said of Jauss, who previously served as Jerry Manuel’s bench coach in 2010. “Louie has known him a long time.”
The Mets are hoping that relationship pays dividends in the dugout in 2021.
Porter said he’s spoken with Rojas since taking the job, but has yet to meet him. Rojas is currently in the Dominican Republic.
“We had a good conversation,’’ Porter said. “He’s energized.”
Porter added he’s yet to talk to any of the Mets’ current players, but plans to do so in the near future.
And he praised two of the organization’s top young players in Dom Smith and Pete Alonso.
Of Smith, Porter noted his “defensive versatility” and he called Alonso “one of the best first basemen in baseball. … It’s a huge plus to have both those guys on the team.’’
How they fit on the roster with the uncertainty regarding the universal DH is up in the air. Asked about that uncertainty heading into next season, Porter said teams have to be “flexible” and “prepared for multiple outcomes.”
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