Boston’s roster is being overhauled today. In addition to putting Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list and calling up both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero from Triple-A the Red Sox have also demoted right-hander Joe Kelly to Pawtucket.
Kelly actually managed to stay in the rotation for a month after reports of him being “clearly on thin ice” surfaced in late May, but the Red Sox eventually got tired of waiting for him to turn things around. Kelly posted a 5.67 ERA in 14 starts and heads back to the minors at age 27 and with more than 400 career innings as a big leaguer.
Last year’s trade deadline swap that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals for Kelly and Allen Craig looks like a total bust for the Red Sox. Kelly has a 4.96 ERA in 24 starts for Boston, Craig has hit .130 in 53 games for Boston, and now they’re teammates in Pawtucket.
Justin Masterson will step into Kelly’s rotation spot, although he may not be on the sturdiest of ice himself.
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.