According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said this afternoon that Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez are lined up to start Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS against the Royals. That’s assuming they aren’t needed in relief today. Both are available out of the bullpen after last night’s extra-inning loss.
Chen was hit hard in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tigers, giving up five runs on seven hits (including two home runs) over just 3 2/3 innings. Showalter ultimately chose Bud Norris over him to start Game 2 of the ALCS today. The 29-year-old southpaw had a 3.54 ERA and 136/35 K/BB ratio over 185 2/3 innings during the regular season.
Gonzalez is the fresh arm for the Orioles. He wasn’t needed in the ALDS, so he hasn’t pitched in a game since way back on September 28. That’s nearly two weeks ago. The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 3.23 ERA and 111/51 K/BB ratio over 159 innings this season.
Game 3 of the ALCS will take place Monday in Kansas City, with Game 4 on Tuesday.
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.