Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports that the White Sox have heard from “numerous” teams regarding the availability of shortstop Alexei Ramirez. The Mets, Yankees, and Dodgers are among the teams in the hunt. All three teams have a clear need at shortstop, though Levine notes that the Mets have the young starting pitching that the White Sox would covet.
Ramirez, 33, batted .273/.305/.408 with 15 home runs, 73 RBI, and 21 stolen bases over 158 games this season and carries the reputation as a strong defender. He was selected to his first All-Star team back in July and he took home his second career Silver Slugger Award earlier this evening. His contract is quite reasonable, as he’s owed $10 million next season and has a $10 million team option for 2016 or a $1 million buyout. As a result, the White Sox should expect a strong market for his services as teams consider free agent shortstops Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie, and Stephen Drew.
The White Sox don’t have an obvious in-house replacement if Ramirez is moved, but 2013 first-round pick Tim Anderson is in the minor league pipeline.
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.