Braves rookie outfielder Ronald Acuña left yesterday’s game against the Red Sox after taking an ugly tumble after crossing first base. At the time he was listed as having “knee and back pain” pending further evaluation. That evaluation is now in.
The Braves announced a little bit ago that Acuña has a mild ACL sprain in his left knee and a left knee contusion. The exam also showed a lower back contusion. He will be placed on the disabled list and reevaluated at the end of the 10-day period.
That seems to be pretty decent news for Acuña and the Braves. Players who have taken headers at first base like that in the past — I’m thinking Bryce Harper and Kevin Kiermaier — have missed far more time.
Acuña is hitting .265/.326/.453 with five home runs, 13 RBI, and 19 runs scored in his first 129 big league plate appearances. Losing him will not be great for Atlanta, but losing him for a relatively short period will be manageable.
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.