Brian McCann swings for the fences during the Home Run Challenge, part of the fifth annual Brian McCann Rally Foundation Celerity Softball Game at Coolray field in Lawrenceville on Nov. 9, 2013. Bert's Big Bats team played against Tug's Triple Threat in the event that raised funds for childhood cancer research. PHIL SKINNER / AJC file photo
Photo: Phil Skinner/AJC file
Photo: Phil Skinner/AJC file

Ex-Brave Brian McCann becomes a free agent

Former Braves catcher Brian McCann became a free agent Wednesday when the Houston Astros declined a $15 million option for the 2019 season. 

McCann played for the Braves from 2005-13. He was a member of the original “Baby Braves” of the 2005 season, when the team won the final of its 14 consecutive division titles. 

After the 2013 season, McCann became a free agent and signed with the New York Yankees. The Astros acquired McCann in a trade in November 2016. 

» More: Would you re-sign Brian McCann?

McCann, who lives in Gwinnett County and graduated from Duluth High School, told the AJC in November 2017 how much he would enjoy retiring as a Brave: 

“One hundred percent,” McCann said when asked if he would want to end his career with the Braves. “One hundred percent. This is my home. I played close to 10 years here. This organization is really, really, really close to my heart. I love this organization.” 

Injuries dogged McCann this season. He spent three stints on the disabled list and played in only 63 games. He hit .212 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs. In early July, McCann, who turns 35 on Feb. 20, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, reportedly to repair meniscus. 

McCann and his wife, Ashley, have strong ties to metro Atlanta, including their Atlanta-based charity the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. 

If McCann doesn’t re-sign with the Astros by Friday afternoon, presumably for less money, he would hit the open market. Given McCann’s recent injuries, he may no longer have a future as an every-day catcher, so his best options may come from American League teams, who deploy a designated hitter. Or if healthy next season, McCann could provide National League teams with a strong clubhouse presence in the role of backup catcher, or in a sharing arrangement similar to how the Braves used Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki the past two seasons.

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