The Orioles are one of the teams that was linked with Bronson Arroyo for much of the offseason. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that one of the reasons they lost out on him was that the Orioles had already failed two players on physicals this offseason and Arroyo was concerned that they’d pull it with him:
But, according to one source, another serious factor was that the Orioles had failed two players’ physicals this offseason — outfielder Tyler Colvin’s one-year deal and the high-profile decision to walk away from Balfour and his two-year, $15 million agreement due to concerns about his right shoulder . . . t’s impossible to say that was the leading factor in Arroyo’s decision to go to Arizona, but it seemingly played a part.
The money, apparently, favored Baltimore. But Arroyo chose the Diamondbacks. Maybe because the NL West is easier. Maybe for some other reason. But part of it was the O’s dealings with Balfour and Colvin.
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.