Free agency opened only Oct. 30, when Koji Uehara struck out former TCU star Matt Carpenter for the final out of the World Series.
Players have been free to negotiate with all teams only since Tuesday, when their 2013 team’s five-day exclusive window closed.
In other words, the off-season is still in its infancy. It’s far too early for a player to eliminate a potential suitor even if, say, a potential suitor re-signed another player at the same position and went so far as to give that player a significant role.
Such is the case with Brian McCann, not only the top free-agent catcher available but one of the top power hitters, after the Texas Rangers re-signed Geovany Soto on Tuesday and announced that he would be the primary man behind the plate.
The McCann camp, though, hasn’t crossed the Rangers off his list of landing spots.
“I don’t think we’re willing to concede organization or any team because it’s so early,” said B.B. Abbott, McCann’s agent at Florida-based Jet Sports Management.
“The Soto signing certainly doesn’t affect Brian’s thinking at this point. If the Rangers were to come calling, I don’t think it would be a factor.”
General manager Jon Daniels said that he is looking for a either a traditional backup as the Rangers’ second catcher, or a player who can play another position and has a potent bat that manager Ron Washington would want to keep in the lineup every day.
There are several backups who the Rangers could pursue, but McCann is the only one with a big enough bat to help the Rangers overcome the power void they experience last season.
McCann, though, has never played any position other than catcher. As he starts the free-agency process, his mind is on staying behind the plate.
“At this point, Brian’s a catcher,” Abbott said. “He’s a 29-year-old catcher who’s on a Hall of Fame path. You don’t see those kind of guys hit free agency.
Abbott, though, conceded that McCann could be swayed to be more versatile, especially if it helps extend his career.
“I’m not saying as we get further along in the process he could change his feelings on the issue,” Abbott said.
-- Jeff Wilson