Veteran journeyman Jack Hannahan beat out 23-year-old Lonnie Chisenhall for Cleveland’s starting third base job this spring and played well in the early going, but today the Indians placed him on the disabled list and recalled Chisenhall from Triple-A.
Hannahan missed 11 games with a back injury, returned to the lineup Saturday, and is now being shut down with a strained calf. Jose Lopez is starting at third base today, with Chisenhall at designated hitter.
Chisenhall struggled in a 66-game debut with the Indians last season, hitting .255 with seven homers and a .699 OPS while posting an ugly 49/8 K/BB ratio. He had a similarly ugly 20/4 K/BB ratio in 28 games at Triple-A this year, but was also batting .324 with an .893 OPS and if Chisenhall plays well right away he might stick in Cleveland even after Hannahan returns.
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.