Athletics activate Sean Doolittle from disabled list

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Things haven’t gone according to plan for the Athletics and closer Sean Doolittle this season, but here’s some good news to pass along.

Doolittle has been limited to just one appearance this season due to a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He missed the first six weeks of the season before making his return on May 27, but he went right back on the disabled list a few days later.

While there was some question about whether Doolittle would pitch again this season, he has made solid progress of late and there were positive reports during his minor league rehab assignment. He allowed one run in four inning and struck out the side in each of his last two appearances. Jane Lee of MLB.com notes that he was sitting in the 90-92 mph range while topping out at 93 mph.

Tyler Clippard functioned as the closer while Doolittle was sidelined, but he was traded to the Mets last month. It has been a bumpy ride in the A’s bullpen since, so Doolittle could get a chance to reclaim his old job. At the very least, he could go into the offseason with some peace of mind about his health.

Doolittle, 28, owns a 2.95 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 176 appearances in the majors. He saved 22 games for Oakland last season.

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.