Ike Davis pitched once earlier this year. It was back in April and he actually looked pretty darn good! His services were needed again yesterday, as the A’s were in the process of losing 18-2 to the Orioles. This time, however, the position player pitching came with a twist: the batter was a pitcher. A relief pitcher, no less. In an AL game:
Given the blowout the Orioles had willingly forfeited their DH so Jason Garcia hit for himself. Though, as you can see above, he didn’t really “hit.” Indeed, he was walked on four pitches. He was specifically instructed by manager Buck Showalter to not swing the bat. Not that he didn’t want to at least look like a pro:
“I thought Garcia presented himself well,” Showalter said. “He wasn’t supposed to swing there, but he put his batting gloves on for the photo op. Then I watch him on deck and he was pine tarring his bat. I said, ‘Why are you putting pine tar on?’ He goes, ‘Oh yeah.'”
“Got to look the part,” he said. “I wanted to swing, but …”
For Davis’ part, he got out of the inning with no one scoring. Even struck out a dude.
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.