Joe Mauer takes over active career lead in batting average

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Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki are slowing down and Joe Mauer is on fire right now, which has allowed Mauer to take over the active career lead in batting average at .324.

Here’s the leaderboard:

Joe Mauer         .324
Albert Pujols     .323
Ichiro Suzuki     .321
Miguel Cabrera    .320
Todd Helton       .320
Joey Votto        .317
Ryan Braun        .313
Derek Jeter       .313
Matt Holliday     .312
Robinson Cano     .308

Not bad for a catcher.

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.