Video: Madison Bumgarner smashes his fifth homer of the season

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Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner knows how to hit. Most pitchers in the National League are free outs when they come to the plate, but Bumgarner entered play Friday night with four home runs on the season, making it back-to-back seasons with four round-trippers. He’s only the 12th pitcher since 1901 with multiple four-homer seasons.

Bumgarner decided to make it five, drilling a Jeff Locke offering well past the fence in left field at PNC Park, boosting the Giants’ lead to 5-1 on Friday night. He’s the first pitcher to record a five-homer season since Carlos Zambrano hit six for the Cubs in 2006. He’s the first Giant to hit five home runs since Hal Schumaker hit six in 1934 for the New York Giants.

Small sample size caveat, but this tidbit from Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area is fascinating:

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.