Albert Pujols is back at first base tonight for the first time since April 15

5 Comments

Albert Pujols has been limited to designated hitter duties recently due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but while it’s been painful to watch him run the bases, he’s apparently feeling some improvement.

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com passes along word that Pujols will play first base tonight against the Mariners for the first time since April 15. The 33-year-old has appeared as the designated hitter in each of his last seven starts and nine out of his last 10. He said earlier this week that serving as the DH gives him the best chance to get over the hump with the foot injury, so the Angels aren’t going to push him. But it’s a positive sign that he’s playing the field again.

Pujols is batting .267/.385/.413 with two home runs, 11 RBI and a .798 OPS through 91 plate appearances this season. He is in the second year of a 10-year, $240 million contract.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

Getty Images
7 Comments

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.