UPDATE: According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, the Rangers, Mariners and Braves have all expressed strong interest in Upton.
4:02 PM: It’s been a while since Justin Upton rumors were swirling, so Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Diamondbacks are “very much open again to talking about trading Upton with other teams.”
That’s some interesting language from Olney and falls pretty short of saying Arizona is actively shopping Upton or even actively fielding offers on Upton. But considering reports like that have been surfacing every month or so for going on two years now none of it is surprising.
After the Diamondbacks basically came out of nowhere to sign Cody Ross it seemed obvious that they’d be moving an outfielder, and Upton or Jason Kubel are the leading candidates.
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.