Orioles made an offer to A.J. Burnett

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The Orioles have made an offer to free agent starter A.J. Burnett, but nothing is imminent, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. Burnett declined his $12.75 million player option with the Phillies last week.

Before Burnett signed with the Phillies this past February, the Orioles were one of a few teams interested in the right-hander’s services, so it’s no surprise to see their renewed interest. The O’s had the fifth-best starting rotation ERA in the American League in 2014, but they don’t have an obvious rotation leader.

Burnett, who turns 38 on January 3, had a miserable season in Philadelphia. He suffered an inguinal hernia in mid-April and finished the season with a 4.59 ERA in 213 2/3 innings, leading the league in earned runs allowed, walks, and losses.

According to MLB.com’s Tom Singer, the Pirates are still interested in Burnett as well.

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.