Joe Blanton is coming out of retirement

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Joe Blanton’s retirement didn’t last very long.

Blanton called it quits in April after getting released by the Angels and struggling at Triple-A for the A’s, but there were reports of him reconsidering almost immediately and now he’s officially back.

Or at least trying to find another gig.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Blanton is “holding an open workout” for interested teams on February 4 and is now “motivated to pitch.”

Blanton is 34 years old and it’s been a long time since he’s pitched better than a fifth starter, but he’d make sense as rotation depth for plenty of teams on a minor-league contract. He’s made nearly $40 million during his career.

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.