Brian McCann had his wish to return to the Braves granted, as the club announced on Monday afternoon that it signed the veteran catcher to a one-year, $2 million contract. McCann's desire to once again play for his hometown team led him to decline a couple of more financially lucrative offers made by other teams.
McCann spent the past five seasons playing for the Yankees and Astros, and he had hoped for the opportunity to eventually play for Atlanta, which has been his hometown dating back to his junior high school days. He fulfilled his childhood dream when he established himself as one of the top catchers in franchise history while playing for the Braves from 2005-13.
"To be honest, this is a day I didn't know would happen when I left in 2013," McCann said at a news conference Monday.
"But this is as special of a day for me as any I've had in my career."
With McCann and Tyler Flowers, the Braves have a pair of veteran catchers who could share the position much like Flowers and Kurt Suzuki did the past two seasons. But specific plans have not yet been revealed.
McCann's advanced baseball IQ was influenced by the opportunity to spend the early years of his career with Hall of Famers John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and Tom Glavine. During the past two seasons with the Astros, McCann developed a genuine appreciation for the value of advanced analytics.
McCann hit .212 with seven homers and a .640 OPS as a right knee injury limited him to just 62 games (55 starts) as a backstop for Houston in 2018. The veteran, who turns 35 in February, batted .241 with 18 homers and a .759 OPS while playing an instrumental role for the '17 World Series champion Astros.
After undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in early July, McCann returned to produce a .784 OPS over 43 plate appearances in September. He went hitless in eight plate appearances and made just two starts during the postseason.
McCann proved to be the most successful member of the Baby Braves -- the group of rookies that helped Atlanta win the last of its 14 consecutive division titles in 2005. Now, he has an opportunity to influence what has the chance to be another successful era in the franchise's history.
McCann earned an All-Star selection in seven of the eight full seasons he spent with Atlanta. Before this year, he had tallied at least 18 homers over 12 consecutive seasons.