Jose Fernandez flying back to Miami to have his right shoulder examined

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Marlins starter Jose Fernandez has left the team, currently in Atlanta, and flown back to Miami to have his right-shoulder examined by a doctor, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The Marlins’ ace is battling some stiffness in his right shoulder.

Fernandez, 23, had Tommy John surgery in May last year. He made his season debut on July 2 against the Giants, and has racked up a superb 2.30 ERA with a 53/10 K/BB ratio in 43 innings across seven starts.

At 43-67, the Marlins are currently tied with the Phillies for the worst record in baseball. Their starting rotation has seen Dan Haren and Mat Latos leave via trade, and Henderson Alvarez is out after undergoing shoulder surgery. Losing Fernandez for any length of time would only further hurt an already depleted stable of starters.

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.