Adam Eaton was supposed to open this season as Arizona’s starting center fielder and leadoff man.
It’s three months late, but he’s finally in that role.
According to television reporter Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona, Eaton, who suffered a sprained UCL in his left elbow during the middle of spring training, has officially been activated from the disabled list and is batting leadoff and starting in center field on Tuesday night against the Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks have a crowded outfield at the moment with Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel, Cody Ross, A.J. Pollock and Martin Prado all in good health, but Eaton carries exciting upside and should get something resembling everyday at-bats. The athletic 24-year-old from Springfield, Ohio hit .259/.382/.412 with two homers, two stolen bases and 19 runs scored in 103 plate appearances last season for the Snakes.
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.