In their search for outfield help the Mets have acquired Collin Cowgill from the A’s for minor leaguer Jefry Marte.
Cowgill, who went from Arizona to Oakland in last offseason’s Trevor Cahill deal, is 26 years old and has hit just .255 with a .631 OPS in 74 games as a big leaguer.
He put up huge numbers at Triple-A in 2011, but slumped this year and the former fifth-round pick is a career .291 hitter with a .371 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage in the minors.
He’s capable of playing all three outfield spots and hits right-handed, so Cowgill has a good chance to fill a bench role for the Mets or perhaps work his way into a platoon gig versus lefties.
Marte is a 22-year-old third baseman who spent this season hitting .251 with a .687 OPS in 129 games at Double-A. He’s yet to crack a .750 OPS in four full seasons, so the price tag for Cowgill wasn’t much.
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.