Tigers place closer Joe Nathan on the disabled list

34 Comments

Joe Nathan was hoping to bounce back from a miserable 2014 season and show he’s still a closer-caliber reliever at age 40, but instead he’s already headed to the Tigers’ disabled list with a strained elbow.

Nathan picked up a one-out save on Opening Day by striking out former teammate Torii Hunter thanks to umpire Joe West’s controversial call. Last season he blew seven of 42 save chances and posted a 4.81 ERA, getting booed off the mound in Detroit several times.

Detroit has another experienced closer in Joakim Soria ready to step into ninth-inning duties and by the time Nathan is healthy there’s a chance manager Brad Ausmus won’t want him back in the closer role.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

Getty Images
6 Comments

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.