Getty Images

Yoan Moncada poised to make his first career start


On the heels of his major league debut, Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada will make his first start with the team on Saturday against the Athletics. The 21-year-old infielder went 0-for-2 during Friday’s 16-2 blowout win in Oakland, drawing a walk against J.B. Wendelken and scoring a run on a Travis Shaw RBI double in the eighth inning.

With Moncada’s switch-hitting capabilities, the Red Sox will have another left-handed bat to balance out the lineup. Like fellow switch-hitter Sandy Leon, Moncada profiles better from the left side of the plate and will get the bulk of his starts against right-handed pitchers. Manager John Farrell also intends to pencil in third baseman Aaron Hill as a defensive option in later innings, supposedly with infielder Travis Shaw as a backup option.

It’s an accelerated timetable for Moncada, who spent just 45 games in Double-A Portland before getting the call, but the Red Sox are in no position to wait. They’ve been red-hot in the last week, taking three of their last five games with a cumulative 33 runs scored and currently sit two games up in the wild card race.

For some teams, September baseball brings the fevered excitement of a playoff run, while those who find themselves out of the running can take solace in the long-awaited debuts of top prospects. Right now, it looks like the Red Sox have the best of both worlds.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

Getty Images

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.