The Royals added some rotation depth Saturday by signing right-hander Chris Young to a one-year contract. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Young will receive a $675,000 base salary with $5.325 in possible incentives. Pretty interesting deal.
Young didn’t pitch at all in the majors in 2013 and required thoracic outlet surgery, but he posted a 3.65 ERA and 108/60 K/BB ratio over 165 innings with the Mariners last season and won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Still, the market for him was very quiet this winter. It’s understandable, as Young has a long injury history, gives up a ton of home runs and fly balls, and his peripherals weren’t very impressive last season.
It’s hard to see where Young fits with the Royals right now, as they already project to have Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Edinson Volquez, Danny Duffy, and Jeremy Guthrie lined up to begin the year in the starting rotation. He offers insurance at the very least. And the Royals, with their outstanding outfield defense, at least fit his fly ball tendencies.
In order to make room for Young on the 40-man roster, the Royals transferred right-hander Kris Medlen on the 60-day disabled list as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery.
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.