Royals sign Jon Rauch

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Jon Rauch, who was released by the Marlins and Orioles last season before sitting out the second half, has signed a minor-league deal with the Royals, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Rauch will get an invitation to spring training, where he’ll compete for a middle relief gig in Kansas City’s relatively stacked bullpen.

Rauch was terrible for the Marlins last year, but it was only 17 innings and he threw 58 innings with a 3.59 ERA and 42/12 K/BB ratio for the Mets in 2012. At age 35 he’s nearing the end of the line, but the 6-foot-10 right-hander could be useful and the price is certainly right.

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.