Jeff Baker to bat cleanup for Marlins on Opening Day

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From Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald comes the Marlins’ lineup plan for Opening Day

With Rafael Furcal headed to the disabled list, Christian Yelich will lead off. [Manager Mike Redmond] said that means Adeiny Hechavarria could bat second, followed by Giancarlo Stanton and Jeff Baker, who will be the Opening Day second baseman against Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa.

Placido Polanco was the Marlins’ cleanup man on Opening Day in 2013 and Baker actually hits very well against left-handers, so let’s call this a year-over-year upgrade.

Baker signed a two-year, $3.7 million contract with the Fish in February.

The sports betting site Bovada pegs the Marlins’ over-under win total for 2014 at 69.5.

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.