Brian Wilson made the All-Star team for a third time last season and didn’t go on the disabled list until mid-August, but he admitted Monday that his elbow was problem for most of the year.
Asked why his strikeouts were down and his walks were up in 2011, Wilson replied, “Probably pitching with a hurt elbow the whole year, and a bad hip. You could blame a ton of things. But I’m the one throwing the ball.”
According to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly, Wilson threw a bullpen session at 75 percent today and was pleased with the results.
“I feel like I’m right on schedule,” Wilson said. “It’s a check on the checklist. It’s a standard bullpen. I don’t look too deep into it. But as far as pain, I was pain-free. No ailments, no tweaks, no inflammation.”
Boasting one of the game’s most expensive setup crews, the Giants can cover a Wilson injury pretty well between right-handers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla and lefties Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. Still, they’re at their best when Wilson is shutting opponents down in the ninth. Despite making just two appearances during the final six weeks of the season, Wilson ended 2011 with 36 saves in 41 opportunities. He was 48-for-53 in 2010.
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.