Joe Kelly effectively knocked Hanley Ramirez out of the 2013 NLCS when the then-Cardinals-starter struck the then-Dodgers-shortstop in the rib cage with a 95 mph fastball in the top of the first inning of Game 1.
The two players are now teammates on the Boston Red Sox — Kelly via last year’s John Lackey trade and Hanley on a four-year, $88 million free agent contract signed this past November. So how did Ramirez get his revenge on Kelly when the two met at Red Sox camp this week in Fort Myers, Florida? A vicious headlock …
Kelly is projected to open the 2015 season as Boston’s fifth starter. Hanley will be in left field.
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.