Doug Fister strikes out nine straight batters, sets a new American League record

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Doug Fister is stone cold dealing against the Royals.

He just got done striking out nine straight batters, starting with Sal Perez in the fourth inning and ending with Billy Butler in the seventh. Six of them were Royals hitters caught looking.  The Tigers currently lead the Royals 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh. (Editor’s note: Detroit won, 5-4.)

Nine straight Ks breaks the record held by Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens. The major league record is ten, held by Tom Seaver. That’s some pretty heady company for a groundball pitcher like Fister.

Of course, when you’re relying on the Tigers D, you gotta do what you gotta do.

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.