There was a general assumption, at the beginning of this offseason, that the Blue Jays would get involved at some point in the bidding for Prince Fielder.
But it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s not likely to.
According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, Toronto is “not a serious suitor” for the 27-year-old first baseman, and his asking price would have to come “way down” for that to suddenly change.
Fielder has drawn only mild interest around the league this winter despite owning a shiny .929 career OPS and batting .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI across 692 plate appearances last season for Milwaukee.
The Nationals have emerged in recent weeks as a potential front-runner, and reportedly had a meeting with Fielder’s agent on Wednesday evening at the annual owner’s meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. But it has become quite apparent that the free agent slugger isn’t going to come close to an Albert Pujols-like deal.
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.