From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi …
The St. Louis Cardinals say they like their starting rotation. But that is not preventing them from pursuing a major upgrade.
The team is exploring trades for left-handers Cole Hamels and David Price and the possibility of signing free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer, according to major-league sources.
St. Louis has five excellent starters in Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Carlos Martinez. Young left-hander Marco Gonzales is another rotation option and Jaime Garcia is expected to be recovered from his latest shoulder surgery by the beginning of the 2015 season.
But there are serious question marks surrounding Wainwright, who needed a cleanup procedure on his right elbow in late October, and Wacha, who logged only 107 innings in 2014 due to right shoulder troubles.
Hamels is due $94 million over the next four seasons and carries a $24 million vesting option (or $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout) for 2019. Price is set to become a free agent next offseason.
Scherzer, a native of St. Louis, is thought to be seeking a contract worth close to $200 million.
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.