The Nationals are set at closer with Drew Storen having a terrific season, but they’re still searching for late-inning bullpen help, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Among Nationals relievers who have tossed at least eight innings, only one pitcher — lefty Matt Thornton — has an ERA below 3.70.
Aroldis Chapman is one of the Nationals’ targets, and they’ve reportedly talked to the Reds about a trade, though nothing is close, per Morosi. Chapman has had another terrific year, going 12-for-13 in save situations with a 2.30 ERA and a 45/17 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings. He and Storen would make for a terrifying one-two punch at the back of the bullpen. The Nationals, by the way, finished second in bidding for Chapman back in 2010, as James Wagner of the Washington Post points out.
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.