Lucas Duda to begin minor league rehab assignment Saturday

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Lucas Duda wasn’t able to return from to return from the disabled list when he was first eligible as the Mets originally hoped, but Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record reports that he’s set to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Binghamton.

Duda has been sidelined since August 21 with a thoracic herniation in his back. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Friday that it’s unlikely he’ll be ready when the team begins their big showdown against the Nationals on Monday, but he could be activated at some point later on in the series. Michael Cuddyer is also sidelined right now due to wrist tendinitis, so the Mets are relying on Kelly Johnson at first base.

Duda, 29, is batting .247/.346/.472 with 21 home runs and 56 RBI over 113 games this 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.