Madison Bumgarner homers, tosses 14-strikeout shutout against the Nationals

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Madison Bumgarner was the star of Sunday’s win against the Nationals, going 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI double and a solo home run while tossing a 14-strikeout, three-hit shutout. It’s a performance reminiscent of Rick Wise’s two-homer day while tossing a no-hitter against the Reds on June 23, 1971.

Bumgarner now has four home runs on the season. He’s the first pitcher with at least four home runs in a season since… Madison Bumgarner in 2014. Yovani Gallardo also accomplished the feat in 2010 when he hit four for the Brewers. Bumgarner still has 10 starts remaining, so he could tack on. The last pitcher to hit more than four homers in a year was Carlos Zambrano in 2006 when he hit six over the fence.

Bumgarner has 10 career home runs. He’s the 57th pitcher since 1901 to hit at least 10 home runs in a career. He has some work left to do if he wants to catch up to Zambrano’s 34, however.

On the mound, Bumgarner is 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, and a 174/27 K/BB ratio in 163 1/3 innings.

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.