The White Sox announced Thursday that they agreed with free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal on a four-year contract worth $73 million.
Grandal was an easily recommendable hire by virtue of being almost certainly the best catcher available in free agency, with an argument for either Jason Castro or Travis d’Arnaud a rather tough one to make in this writer’s opinion. On our list of the Top 50 Free Agents for 2020, Grandal was ranked sixth overall. As J.D. Martinez decided not to opt-out from his deal with the Red Sox, Grandal is the first top 10 free agent to sign this winter.
I remain ambivalent about the White Sox as contenders in 2020 based on the state of the pitchers currently on their roster, but Grandal is both an immediate and long-term upgrade behind the plate. James McCann was a significant contributor in 2019, hitting .273/.328/.460 for 2.3 WAR, but he’s hardly established that level of play as his baseline expectation.
And while I’m skeptical that there has been any actual collusion in free agency the last two winters, if I were searching for a contract that smacked of that kind of behavior, it would be hard to not pick Grandal’s deal with the Brewers….