Mccann And Braves Agree To $26.8 Million, 6-Year Deal

Thursday, March 22nd 2007, 11:49 am

By: News On 6

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) The Atlanta Braves made a longterm commitment to Brian McCann, agreeing Thursday to a $26.8 million, six-year contract with the All-Star catcher.

The deal with McCann, who has less than two years of major league service, includes a club option for 2013. McCann, just 23, hit a team-high .333 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs last season.

"This is really a historical and unprecedented kind of commitment for the Atlanta Braves," general manager John Schuerholz said.

McCann was born in Athens, Ga., and lives in Duluth, near Atlanta.

"Atlanta is where I want to play. It's where I grew up," McCann said. "Not many people can say that."

Schuerholz said the contract doesn't set a trend for the team but is a reflection of McCann's unusual accomplishments so early in his career.

"He made the All-Star team at a very early age and he's one of the top catchers in the game today," Schuerholz said. "He made the All-Star team. He won the Silver Slugger award and the pitchers love throwing to him. That's as important as anything. He's a special type guy, so we wanted to do something special."

McCann gets a $1 million signing bonus, $500,000 this year, $800,000 in 2008, $3.5 million in 2009, $5.5 million in 2010 and $6.5 million in 2011. He earns $8.5 million in 2012 and can make $3 million more in escalator provisions, but if he fails to win certain awards, his salary that season becomes a club option.

Atlanta also has a $12 million option for 2013 with a $500,000 buyout.

Because of complicated provisions in the contract, McCann likely would make at least $27.8 million under the deal, with the possibility of earning up to $29.8 million.

Atlanta, in the process of being sold from Time Warner Inc. to Liberty Media Corp., faces some big decisions later this year. Center fielder Andruw Jones and pitcher John Smoltz both are eligible for free agency after the season.

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