Yasmani Grandal Headed to the Southside

In a shocking free agent move, the Chicago White Sox have signed Yasmani Grandal to a 4-year, $73 million-dollar deal. Several teams were said to be in on Grandal as he was not only the best catcher available this offseason, but also one of the very best catchers in all of baseball. After showing some flashes with San Diego, Grandal broke out with the Dodgers and wound up with a healthy 116 wRC+ over his four seasons in LA.

He averaged 22 HR, 61 RBI, 52 R, and a .790 OPS in about 470 PA per year. He has added PA yearly since 2015, culminating in a 632 PA effort in 2019 during which he hit 28 HR with 77 RBI, 79 R, and an .848 OPS. Additionally, Grandal has been one of the best defensive catchers in the league, especially with his framing. Thanks to that defense, Grandal has led the MLB in WAR since 2015 at 24.9, edging out Buster Posey (22.4) and J.T. Realmuto (17.3).

Grandal joins a White Sox team that seemed locked in at catcher with veteran James McCann taking the lead role and prospect Zack Collins backing him up. Instead, it now appears McCann will be pushed into backup duty while Collins will push to secure the DH role. Grandal’s framing will be a welcomed addition by the Sox pitchers as MLB’s Sarah Langs points out:

McCann rode an obscene .408 BABIP to an .873 first half OPS and All-Star appearance with 9 HR and 30 RBI in 251 PA. He matched the 9 HR and 30 RBI in 225 second half PA, but his AVG tanked from .316 to .226 as the BABIP came back to Earth .299. It was clear that the 30-year old was a bit fortunate and probably shouldn’t have a full-time role to himself, especially with the poor framing (though his arm has regularly been above average).

On the fantasy landscape, Grandal’s stock remains the same. He should be a top 3 catcher off the board. McCann’s value was limited to two-catcher and AL-Only leagues before this and Grandal’s arrival no doubt hits him hard. The extra boost in catcher framing will probably inch Lucas Giolito up even higher on boards and he could realistically wind up in the top 10 SPs by draft season in March. I’ve already shown some love for Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech so this move certainly helps. And now I can delude myself into thinking this will greatly impact Reynaldo Lopez because we all know I was going to quit him anyway. I’m weak.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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stever20
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stever20

is it possible Grandal’s stock goes up even given instead of catching for 125 games and playing 1b for 16 games- he might be able to catch only 110-115 games, and then 1b/dh the other 45 games or so… where he’d be fresher but still in the line up daily….. he only started 140 games last year- and you figure his number might go up to 150-155….

RonnieDobbs
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RonnieDobbs

No. There is no chance that Grandal’s stock improves. This was what buying high looks like. Its far more likely that he spends time on the shelf than plays 155 games. It is a classic bad move that signals a commitment to winning to the fans but will not work out to be a bargain in any scenario. If you want to pay full sticker price I think you are competing with about 5 other teams. The Padres did this last year when they signed Machado. The teams that throw around money are not trying to make smart moves… they have other motivations. Not saying its a bad signing, but his stock isn’t going up – he is at his peak value.