Astros rookie George Springer has homered in four straight games

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After a bit of a slow start in the majors, Astros rookie outfielder George Springer is beginning to figure things out.

Springer homered in his fourth straight game tonight while going 4-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI, a walk, and five runs scored in a 9-2 victory over the Royals. The 24-year-old has five home runs and 11 RBI during this recent stretch and is now batting .268/.348/.500 with eight home runs and 25 RBI over his first 35 games in the majors. Among players with at least 150 plate appearances, he’s tied for 14th in the American League in slugging percentage and ranks 17th with an .848 OPS.

Springer scuffled to the tune of a .170 batting average through his first 12 games in the majors, but he’s hitting .319 over his last 23 games. Strikeouts have still been an issue for him even during his recent run of success, but there’s reason for Astros fans to be very excited here.

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.