Mariners sign A’s castoff Jack Cust to one-year contract

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Jack Cust was non-tendered by the A’s last week, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that he’ll remain in the AL West and sign a one-year contract with the Mariners worth $2.5 million in base salary.

Cust has seen his power numbers decline in three straight seasons, but he remains a walk machine who gets on base at a good clip despite low batting averages and tons of strikeouts.

Among all hitters with at least 400 plate appearances this year Cust ranked 10th in baseball with a .395 on-base percentage and his .834 OPS would’ve been the highest on the Mariners by nearly 100 points.

He’s a flawed player whose production has dipped a bit, but Cust is certainly a very solid designated hitter option on an inexpensive one-year commitment and the Mariners’ lineup can obviously use all the help it can get. He’ll likely hit under .250 in Seattle and the signing won’t look so good if Cust ends up seeing significant action in the field, but he’ll draw a ton of walks, post an OBP among the AL leaders, and smack 20-plus homers.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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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.