Houston has agreed to terms with LSU shortstop and No. 2 overall draft pick Alex Bregman, according to Mark Berman of MyFOXHouston.com.
Last year the Astros failed to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, so they received the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft as compensation and selected Bregman. In three years at LSU he hit a combined .334 with 21 homers, 65 steals, more walks than strikeouts, and a .921 OPS in 166 games.
Baseball America rated Bregman as the fourth-best prospect in the draft class, calling him “one of the safest picks” because “scouts are nearly unanimous that he should at the worst be a productive big league middle infielder.”
Obviously the Astros are betting on him being an impact player, but either way he should move through the farm system quickly and could be in Houston at some point next season. Where he’ll play is less certain, because the Astros have their long-term double-play duo in All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve and stud shortstop prospect Carlos Correa.
The recommended slot value for the No. 2 pick is $7.4 million.
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.