The Braves announced a pair of roster moves this evening, with third baseman Chris Johnson going on the 15-day disabled list due to a left hand fracture and right-hander Mike Foltynewicz being called up from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Johnson told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that he suffered the injury tonight on a slide into second base on a stolen base attempt in the fourth inning. No word yet on how long he’ll be sidelined, but the Braves could rely on a combination of Alberto Callaspo, Phil Gosselin, and Kelly Johnson at third base during his absence. Johnson, 30, is batting .279 (12-for-43) with four doubles and five RBI over 16 games this season.
The Braves have demoted Trevor Cahill to the bullpen after three bad starts, so Foltynewicz will take his place in the starting rotation tomorrow night against the Reds. Acquired from the Astros in the Evan Gattis deal over the winter, the 23-year-old had a 2.03 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21 2/3 innings over his first four starts in Triple-A this season. He’s a hard-thrower with frontline potential if he can improve his control.
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.