John Lepore | November 21st, 2019
The Chicago White Sox have opened up the checkbook and signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a franchise-record 4-year/$73 million contract. The rebuild on the South Side just got a nice boost and it looks like Rick Hahn wants it ahead of schedule.
Yasmani Grandal is one of the best catchers in the game today. That’s no secret. He was offered a 4/$60 million contract last season but turned it down and signed a one-year deal worth $16 million with a mutual option for 2020. The option was declined and he received $2.25 million in his buyout. Grandal will now be making that $18.25 million in each of the next four years.
What Grandal Brings
The 31-year-old catcher had a career year in 2019. He set highs with 79 runs, 77 RBI, 28 HRs, and an .848 OPS. He even chipped in five steals. Grandal also started 124 games behind the plate and was very good defensively. Where Grandal excels is in pitch-framing. According to Fangraphs FRM, since 2017 Grandal is the third-best framer in the majors at 43.3. He is behind only Austin Hedges (46.1) and Tyler Flowers (45.8). Considering the White Sox have a young staff, this could have a huge impact on guys like Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease.
While the 124 games started behind the plate was a career-high for Grandal, he is now in the American League. The White Sox can keep his bat in the lineup and keep him fresh throughout the season by putting him at DH and occasionally giving Jose Abreu a day off at first.
The fantasy impact may be felt just as much on the aforementioned rotation as on Grandal himself. Already one of the top catchers off the board, I believe this puts Grandal firmly at number one especially in OBP or OPS leagues. He will be in the lineup every day for the South Siders and has 30 HRs written all over him. He had an incredible 17.2% BB rate last season, another career-high, and had a HH% of 45.4%, also a career-high…notice a theme here? The dude is just getting better. As for the pitchers, I would bump up Giolito, Lopez, and Cease a few spots. Not only because of Grandal, but also because this signing signifies the White Sox may be looking to make more moves to improve the team around the staff. More run support and an immense upgrade at catcher? What staff says no?
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