Deion Sanders takes batting practice with the Orioles

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In town for Thursday’s Browns-Ravens game, Deion Sanders suited up for the Orioles and took batting practice prior to Wednesday’s game. CSNBaltimore.com has the report:

Sanders, who spent parts of nine years in the big leagues, was given a locker next to Adam Jones. He looked pretty good in BP for someone who said he hadn’t swung a bat in several years, hitting several balls to the outfield. And even at 45, he’d probably still be a quality option on the basepaths.

Sanders last played in the majors in 2001 with the Reds. That was after a three-year absence, and he hit just .173 in 75 at-bats. Sanders had his best season in 1992, hitting .304/.346/.495 with an NL-leading 14 triples and 26 steals in 303 at-bats for the Braves. Obviously, Sanders was a much greater talent in football than he was in baseball, but even so, he may well have gone to a couple of All-Star Games had he focused on baseball exclusively as a pro.

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.