The Athletics caught the baseball world off guard earlier this offseason when they traded star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. Josh Reddick openly criticized the logic behind the deal at the time by saying that it didn’t “make sense” to trade someone who had been their best player over the past two seasons. He wasn’t the only one who was confused. However, Reddick is now on board with Billy Beane’s plan.
After it was announced today that the Athletics were acquiring Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Rays for John Jaso and a pair of prospects, Reddick expressed his excitement about the deal to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Reddick also referenced a familiar line from “Dumb and Dumber” on his Twitter account. You can probably guess what it is. Beane works in mysterious ways.
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.