Jeremy Bonderman was linked to several teams this offseason, but the right-hander remains unsigned after coming back from shoulder surgery to post a 5.53 ERA in 171 innings last season and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com “talked to a player who knows Bonderman” and believes “more than likely he’s going to sit this year out.”
Crasnick writes that Bonderman “apparently doesn’t have the energy for more rehabs or going to camp and having to fight for a spot,” which he’d almost certainly have to do on a minor-league contract.
Bonderman is still just 28 years old, but injuries have caused his raw stuff to deteriorate to the point that he averaged just 89 miles per hour with his fastball last season and he has a 5.19 ERA since a strong 2006 season as a 23-year-old.
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.