Carlos Guillen returns to Mariners on minor-league contract

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Carlos Guillen, who played for the Mariners from 1998-2003 before being traded to the Tigers, is returning to Seattle on a minor-league contract.

Guillen has had a very good, very odd career, shifting all over the diamond defensively while developing into an impact hitter in his late twenties, but now he’s simply trying to hang around coming off lots of health problems at age 36.

He’s played just 81, 68, and 28 games during the past three seasons and finally stopped producing offensively last year, batting .232 with a .633 OPS in limited action.

Still, considering how desperate the Mariners have been for any sort of lineup help adding Guillen on a no-risk deal makes sense. They originally acquired him from the Astros, along with Freddy Garcia and John Halama, in the Randy Johnson deal.

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.