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Gio Gonzalez will start Game 5 for the Nationals

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This morning I talked about Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS and the Nationals’ heartbreaking collapse and loss therein. Gio Gonzalez started that game, which took place five years ago this very night. Now Dusty Baker has announced that Gio Gonzalez will start Game 5 tonight as well.

Gonzalez allowed three runs over five innings in Game 2 of the NLDS (he also gave up three runs in 2012’s Game 5, but I suppose I can let that go now). Regardless, he seems like the best choice here and if I was in Dusty’s shoes I’d pick him over Tanner Roark, I think.

Ultimately, though, this will be an all-hands-on-deck game for Washington, with Roark, Max Scherzer and basically every member of the Nats bullpen available thanks to Tuesday’s rainout and yesterday’s strong start from Stephen Strasburg.

No word yet as to whether Drew Storen will be arrested on sight if he is within 100 miles of Nats Park at game time.

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.