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Clay Buchholz believes he’s going to be traded

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It’s no secret that Clay Buchholz is the odd man out in Boston. He pitched mopup duty last night — the ninth inning when his team was up by 11 — and before that he hadn’t pitched since July 2. He’s been kicked out of the rotation twice and isn’t trusted in the bullpen during this, his worst season as a big leaguer. Junichi Tazawa was just activated too, which will reduce what little role he actually has left.

Buchholz knows it too. Here’s what he tells Rob Bradford of WEEI:

“If this is the way the team is going to be as far as the rotation part of it … I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out.”

Does he think he’ll be traded?

“I’m not sure. I don’t know. Not having pitched in a while I felt like something has be going on. I’m just trying to stay as sharp as I can and that’s why I’ve been throwing on the side. I have to stay somewhat stretched out.”

It’s quite a fall for Buchholz who, at one time, was the ace of the staff. Now he looks like a guy a team that is probably going to the playoffs is seeking to unload to make room for relievers with half of his fame and pay check. That’s gotta be a hard pill to swallow.

Buchholz’s best bet: he gets traded to a non-contender who is content to put him in the rotation and let him sink or swim. If he swims, that club may decide to exercise the $13.5 million club option on Buchholz’s deal for 2017. Short of that, he’s going to be a free agent after the season who will face a tough market despite the fact that the free agent market looks really thin this year.

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.