Ben Revere hit another home run

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It’s not often that a player simply hitting a home run is newsworthy, but Phillies outfielder Ben Revere has done it so rarely — in fact, never in 1,400 plate appearances entering the season — that it’s like seeing Halley’s Comet. Revere hit his first career home run on May 27 against the Rockies, a line drive off of lefty Boone Logan. The smash, 1,466 at-bats into Revere’s career, ended the longest homerless drought since Frank Tavares of the Pirates went 1,594 at-bats without going deep between 1972-77.

Revere did it again on Friday night against the Nationals, and it helped in a big way. The Phillies were down 5-0 after five innings and 7-2 after seven, but a two-run eighth and a two-run home run by Carlos Ruiz in the ninth brought them to within one run with Revere at the plate facing closer Rafael Soriano. With a 2-2 count, Soriano threw a breaking ball over the plate, and Revere lifted it in the air to right field, landing about five rows up in the stands above Jayson Werth for a game-tying solo home run.

The game went into extra innings. Domonic Brown reached second base to lead off the 11th inning when Bryce Harper and Denard Span collided going after a fly ball to left-center. Brown was bunted over to third base and scored, on a bad throw home by first baseman Tyler Moore on a Maikel Franco ground ball, to put the Phillies up 8-7. Revere added an RBI single to make it 9-7, then stole second base for his 43rd base of the season… then was thrown out trying to steal third. Jonathan Papelbon allowed a run in the bottom half of the 11th but ultimately closed out the contest.

Revere finished the game 3-for-5 with a walk, an RBI single, a double, and the home run. He remains the National League leader in batting average at .316, two points ahead of Josh Harrison. Revere is also third in hits with 162 and third in stolen bases with 43. If he wins the batting title, he’ll be the first Phillie to have done so since Richie Ashburn in 1958.

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.