Yankees fire hitting coach Kevin Long

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Just minutes after announcing a three-year contract extension with general manager Brian Cashman the Yankees have fired hitting coach Kevin Long, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Long has been New York’s hitting coach since 2007, during which time the Yankees lineup scored the second-most runs in all of baseball. However, they ranked 13th in runs among AL teams this season after ranking 10th last year.

It’s hard to blame Long for guys like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and Ichiro Suzuki getting old/hurt, but big-money free agent pickups Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury also underwhelmed this season.

Mostly this just seems like the Yankees wanted to find a scapegoat while not wanting to part ways with Cashman or manager Joe Girardi, in which case it’s easiest to cut the hitting coach who presided over a terrible offense regardless of how much blame he deserved.

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.