Brandon Belt cleared to resume baseball activities

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Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area reports that Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has been cleared to resume baseball activities this week. The Giants still aren’t sure if he will be able to return before the end of the season, but they will know more by the end of the week.

Belt suffered a concussion shortly after the All-Star break and was on the disabled list for about two weeks. He returned on August 2 and played in five games before going back on the disabled list with concussion symptoms. Manager Bruce Bochy is pleased with Belt’s progress:

“He’s doing really well,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll go how he feels. That’s what you’ve got to deal with, and if we can ramp it up, we will without taking any risks.”

Belt has middling numbers over 203 plate appearances this season, sporting a .237/.296/.446 slash line with 11 home runs and 24 RBI. In his stead, the Giants have used a handful of players at first base, including Buster Posey, Travis Ishikawa, Michael Morse, Joaquin Arias, and Adam Duvall.

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.