Max Scherzer is “good to go” and could start Friday

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Max Scherzer missed his scheduled Tuesday start because of a sprained thumb, but the Nationals insisted it was a minor injury and sure enough the former Cy Young winner may be been cleared to start Friday against the Mets.

Scherzer threw a problem-free bullpen session Tuesday while call-up A.J. Cole was taking his turn in the rotation, telling Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that he’s “good to go.”

Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to start Friday, but the Nationals may decide to push Gonzalez and Doug Fister back one day apiece in order to get the $210 million free agent pickup on the mound again.

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.