It wasn’t a very good night for first-base umpires Friday. Angel Hernandez cost the White Sox a win over the Marlins in the 10th, though they did come back and prevail in the 11th anyway.
MLB.com has the video and, more importantly, also has the audio as Hawk Harrelson reacts to the call. Alex Rios was ruled out on an inning-ending double play that should have been a fielder’s choice with the winning run scoring from third. Fortunately, the White Sox scored for real an inning later when Jeff Keppinger singled in pinch-runner Tyler Greene.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura responded afterwards, shrugging off the call:
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.