Heyman: Andre Ethier has Boston on his mind

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It’s something of an old rumor, but SI.com’s Jon Heyman has stirred it back up again, saying Andre Ethier is frustrated with the Dodgers and has hopes of joining the Red Sox at some point in his career.

According to Heyman, “many people connected to the Dodgers say that Ethier is more dismayed by the financial and on-field troubles than he has publicly admitted.”

Heyman goes on to quote a “person close” to Ethier as saying:

He’s got his best buddy Dustin Pedroia telling him how great Boston is. In Andre’s mind, [the Dodgers situation] is embarrassing. And Boston has a different [vibe] right now.

Ethier isn’t a free agent until after 2012, so the Red Sox wouldn’t be able to simply sign him and plug him into J.D. Drew’s spot after the season.  Whether they’d be open to trading for him remains to be seen.  According to UZR, Ethier rates as one of the game’s worst defenders the last four years, costing the Dodgers 35 runs in the outfield.

Now that seems a little excessive, and UZR actually has Ethier as three runs above average so far this season.  Still, Ethier isn’t going to get any faster with age, and he might well be able to help a team more at first base, which is a position he couldn’t play in Boston with Adrian Gonzalez locked up.

The Red Sox have one of the game’s most difficult right fields in Fenway Park and two guys with potential in Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish as possibilities to step in during 2012, so they may sit out this chase.  However, if the Dodgers make Ethier available, there will be plenty of suitors.

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.