Ryan Vogelsong “shifts course” on Astros, now “in serious discussions” with the Giants

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Free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong was said to be working toward an agreement with the Astros and even traveled to Houston on Monday to meet with team officials. But it appears those negotiations have suddenly collapsed. From the Twitter account of FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal …

San Francisco’s roster already carries pretty good rotation depth between Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, and swingman Yusmeiro Petit, but Cain is still rehabbing from right elbow surgery and Lincecum has been a start-to-start question mark for the past three years.

Vogelsong, 37, posted a solid 4.00 ERA, 1.278 WHIP, and 151/58 K/BB ratio in 184 2/3 innings last season for the World Series-champion Giants. He has also drawn free agent interest this winter from the Rockies.

Houston will have to look elsewhere for its veteran starter. Or the quickly-improving ‘Stros can try out a rotation that goes Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Scott Feldman, Brett Oberholtzer, and Dan Straily.

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.