Injury puts Francisco Liriano’s deal with Pirates in jeopardy

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What was believed to be a done deal between Francisco Liriano and the Pirates is apparently in jeopardy weeks after the left-hander reportedly agreed to a two-year, $12.75 million contract.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that Liriano suffered an injury to his right (non-throwing) arm in December, adding that the Pirates “continue to talk to his agent” and “no deal is imminent.”

Long delays between reported deals and actual announcements have become increasingly common and most of the time it proves to be nothing, but with this Liriano news and Mike Napoli’s ongoing situation with the Red Sox the “big deal, they’ll sign eventually” stance is a little tougher to take.

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.