Video: Francisco Liriano hits his first career home run

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Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano had been getting it done on the mound, entering his against the Dodgers with a 2.92 ERA and a 140/42 K/BB ratio in 126 1/3 innings. He contributed in a new way — with the bat — on Saturday.

Liriano had taken 171 plate appearances in his career and registered only 13 hits, all of them singles. He used to put in literally zero effort into his at-bats, as Deadspin captured here.

He broke his extra-base hitless and homerless streak with one swing of the bat, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead in the second inning against Mat Latos. It was an opposite field shot that just escaped a leaping Scott Van Slyke in left field.

Things weren’t going quite as smoothly on the mound, as the Dodgers clobbered him for four runs on seven hits and two walks in his three innings of work. The Pirates still pulled out a 6-5 victory.

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.