The Chicago White Sox have landed one of the best catchers on the market this offseason, by signing Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal on Thursday.
In a free agency class thin on backstops, the Havana, Cuba native stood out after putting together the second All-Star season of his career in 2019 as a member of the Brewers. Grandal hit .246 with 28 home runs, 77 RBIs and an OBP of .380 while appearing in 153 games (the most of any catcher). No slouch at the plate, Grandal was even better behind it as one of the best pitch framers in MLB since debuting in 2014 according to FanGraphs. He allowed only eight passed balls last season while throwing out 27 potential base stealers, good for a matching 27% caught stealing rate.
The White Sox will pay Grandal $18.25 million annually, a pay raise from the $16 million he made in 2019 with Milwaukee. Grandal declined a mutual option from the Brewers for the upcoming season in the hopes of landing the long-term deal he eventually received from Chicago. The White Sox now boast a solid catching tandem, as Grandal will bump first-time All-Star James McCann (who hits free agency in 2021) into a reserve role. Former backup Wellington Castillo may soon be on his way out and is not on the team's current 40-man roster.
The $73 million deal is the largest in White Sox history. Grandal reportedly turned down $60 million from the Mets last offseason and rebuffed the Brewers’ offer this year.