Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez will undergo surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger. It’ll end his season.
The issue, according to Pete Mackanin, has been clogging blood flow to Velasquez’s middle finger, causing a numbness he has been experiencing on and off for some time. It’s shown up in his performance as well, helping him to a 2-7 record and a 5.13 ERA in 15 starts this year. The right-hander missed a month and a half earlier this season with a right elbow flexor strain.
Velasquez, the top prospect coming to the Phillies from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade a couple of years back, has shown some fantastic upside at times, but health issues and inconsistency have derailed him of late. The surgery he’s undergoing is not said to be major and he should be ready for spring training. How he fits in the Phillies’ plans going forward, however, is an open question.
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.