Blue Jays “have established contact” with Hanley Ramirez

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FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays front office has “established contact” with the reps for free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez, but then adds that the Jays are “not actively pursuing him now.”

This could be a case of due diligence, or the Blue Jays could actually be considering Hanley for third base. Jose Reyes is locked in at shortstop, though he is injury-prone. Brett Lawrie can play second.

Ramirez seems likely to have a slow-developing market this winter because of his lofty contract demands (thought to be near $100 million) and inconsistent health over the past several seasons. He appeared in just 128 games this past year, 86 games in 2013, and 64 games in 2012. The 30-year-old is a .300/.373/.500 career hitter.

The Astros have also checked in on Hanley, but that probably won’t go anywhere.

The Mariners reportedly have strong interest.

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.