Rafael Furcal suffers torn hamstring, will miss Dominican Winter League playoffs

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Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes reports that infielder Rafael Furcal has a torn hamstring and will miss the Dominican Winter League playoffs. Furcal had drawn some interest, namely from the Phillies, as he attempts to keep his major league career afloat. The injury is obviously a setback to that goal.

Furcal, 37, missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and managed to play in only nine games for the Marlins this past season due to a strained hamstring.

Furcal singled once and doubled once in four at-bats for Águilas Cibaeñas in the Dominican Winter League. His team is slated to begin the round-robin playoff series against Gigantes del Cibao on Saturday.

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.