Orioles change plans, will start Bud Norris in Game 3 of ALDS vs. Tigers on Sunday

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In a change of plans, MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles will start right-hander Bud Norris in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Tigers tomorrow afternoon at Comerica Park. Baltimore is up 2-0 in the series and can eliminate Detroit with another victory.

Miguel Gonzalez was originally lined up for Game 3 while Norris was expected to start Game 4 (if necessary) on Monday. No word yet on the reason for the change.

Norris, 29, went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139/52 K/BB ratio over 165 1/3 innings during the regular season.

UPDATE: According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Gonzalez is fine physically and will start Game 4 on Monday if the series goes that far.

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.