Nationals starter Ross Detwiler has been sidelined for the last month due to a herniated disk in his lower back. Reports from a week and a half ago estimated the lefty may miss another month, leading to a late August return, but the latest from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post suggests Detwiler may not return at all.
Detwiler visited specialist Robert Watkins Sr., a renowned back surgeon based in California, last month for a second opinion. Watkins diagnosed the herniated disk and prescribed a month of rest and anti-inflammatory medication.
By that point, Detwiler will not have pitched in about two months. The Nationals would place Detwiler on a full throwing program to rebuild his arm strength, “almost like you go through spring training again,” Johnson said.
Kilgore does add that the Nationals are still hoping to bring him back in September to see where he’s at, whether or not the team is still a contender in the NL East and Wild Card races. Before landing on the DL, Detwiler posted a 4.04 ERA in 71.1 innings over 13 starts.
In Detwiler’s absence, rookie Taylor Jordan has filled in admirably, compiling a 3.31 ERA in 35.1 innings over six starts.
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.