Miguel Olivo had to be helped off the field last night after suffering a groin injury, saying afterward that it was worse than the groin injury that caused him to miss three weeks last spring.
Olivo told Greg Johns of MLB.com that he “felt a pop” while trying to make a play at first base on a ball hit in front of the plate and “I know it’s not going to be easy.”
Fortunately for the Mariners they have excellent catching depth, with rookie Jesus Montero and former Rays starter John Jaso ready to split time behind the plate. In fact, prior to Olivo’s injury they had used Jaso exclusively as a designated hitter.
Montero began last night’s game at DH, with Jaso on the bench, but then shifted behind the plate following Olivo’s injury and later homered. Olivo has hit just .210 with a .575 OPS and his usual league-leading passed ball count, so it’s not exactly a huge downgrade for Seattle.
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.