White Sox fans have been poking the front office with a metaphorical stick since the day the World Series ended to do something to improve a team that just finished its 7th consecutive losing season.
They started the offseason by retaining the services of Jose Abreu, and today, GM Rick Hahn put down his churros long enough to hand out the biggest contract in franchise history to All Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.
It’s a terrific move on many fronts, as Grandal put up career highs in home runs (28) and RBI (77). He also walked 109 times, good for the 4th most in all of MLB.
He’s also known as a good pitch-framer, which will no doubt help the young pitchers on the Sox staff.
This move does have an interesting caveat, in that it throws into doubt the futures of Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes. Collins was viewed as the team’s catcher of the future, but he struggled mightily at the plate during his first stint in the majors this past season.
Mercedes hasn’t cracked the big league lineup yet, and I’m sure he’s wondering when that’ll happen for him with this move.
Additionally, this allows James McCann, also an All Star in 2019, to slide into a backup role as he enters the final year of his current contact with the White Sox. With MLB rosters expanding to 26 players full time in 2020, it’s entirely possible that the Sox could carry three catchers on their roster through the bulk of the season.
Now, the Sox front office sets its sights on filling other holes in the lineup, primarily right field and adding another starting pitcher or two. The batting order for the Sox was right-hand heavy, so adding a left-hand bat or two could help the Sox do better against right-hand pitching than they did last year. Which was, well, not great.
Pitter patter, Rick Hahn.