From Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto’s Sportsnet comes word that Edwin Encarnacion is out of the Blue Jays’ starting lineup Tuesday night against the Athletics because of lingering discomfort in his left middle finger. EE jammed the finger in late July and hasn’t really had time to fully recover.
He also sat out of Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Yankee Stadium, a big 2-0 victory for Toronto.
Justin Smoak is starting at first base and Chris Colabello is at DH as the Blue Jays open a three-game set at home versus the visiting Athletics.
Encarnacion is considered day-to-day for now. The 32-year-old slugger has 21 home runs and 64 RBI in 104 games this season for the Jays, who are just 1 1/2 games back of the Yankees in the American League East standings.
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.