The Diamondbacks and Dodgers will ring in the 2014 MLB season in Australia with a two-game series at the Sydney Cricket Ground from March 22-23. While we’re still waiting on official word from the Dodgers, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson confirmed via his Twitter account today who he plans to start during the series:
Corbin, 24, gets the Opening Day nod for Arizona after an impressive first full season in the majors last year in which he posted a 3.41 ERA and 178/54 K/BB ratio over 208 1/3 innings. Cahill had a 3.99 ERA and 102/65 K/BB ratio across 146 2/3 innings last year.
While it has been widely assumed that 2013 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will start the season opener for the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly has remained quiet about his plans. Zack Greinke, who expressed his disinterest in pitching in Australia in the first place, is not expected to be ready after his recent calf injury.
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.