Cubs designate Clayton Richard for assignment

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Clayton Richard tossed six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Padres on Sunday, but he was designated for assignment by the Cubs today for the second time in the past two weeks.

While it’s some tough luck for Richard, the Cubs don’t have a spot for him in their starting rotation after acquiring Dan Haren from the Marlins before the trade deadline last Friday. Chicago has been going with a short bench in recent days, so outfielder Matt Szczur was called up from Triple-A Iowa to take his place on the active roster.

Richard, 31, has a 4.29 ERA and 9/5 K/BB ratio in 21 innings over three starts and one relief appearance this season. The southpaw passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment in July and the Cubs are surely hoping to keep him around as depth once 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.