As NPBtracker notes, former Diamondback Chad Tracy, who struggled to reestablish himself as a big-league regular after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee following the 2007 season, is expected to sign an approx. $1.3 million deal to play with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 2011.
Tracy hit .308/.359/.553 for the Diamondbacks in his second big-league season in 2005 and followed that up with a second straight 20-homer campaign in 2006, but he began having knee woes in 2007 and hadn’t played in more than 100 games in any season since. The injury robbed him of range at third base, and he hasn’t hit well enough to justify a starting assignment at first base.
Tracy played for the Cubs and Marlins last season, hitting .247/.306/.322 in 146 at-bats as a reserve. He would have had to settle for a minor league contract this winter, so that $1.3 million guarantee must of looked almost as appealing as a spicy tuna roll.
The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.
Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.
The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.