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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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It was a slow night, as Major League Baseball cleared most of the decks so as not to interfere with the draft. Which, being honest, is not a great bit of entertainment so it’s not likely to draw many eyes. I don’t blame them, but on the whole, they probably should’ve just scheduled more games. Oh well.

Here are the scores, here are the highlights:

Angels 9, Royals 6Mike Trout had three hits, scored three times and knocked in two, and broke a tie in the eighth inning with an RBI single. Justin Upton and Albert Pujols each drove in two themselves and Jefry Marte went 4-for-4 with a solo home run. Trout is on a 50-homer, 138-run pace and has, by far, the highest OPS of his career so far this year. He has two MVPs already — should probably have four — and is having his best season of his career. They often say “you’re gonna tell your grandkids about him” but your grandkids are gonna obviously know who he is. Spend your time telling them about someone they’ll forget in fifty years. Like, I dunno, Craig Gentry. No, I have no idea what you’ll tell them about Craig Gentry. They’re not my grandkids, you figure it out.

Yankees 7, Tigers 4; Tigers 4, Yankees 2: Austin Romine hit a three-run homer in the first one and is now, somehow, hitting .373/.456/.661. Someone on Twitter yesterday asked me if, in light of him suddenly turning into Yogi Berra, the Yankees should trade Gary Sanchez. I am mostly sure they were just being sarcastic. But just mostly. Luis Severino, Meanwhile, struck out 10 in eight innings because that’s just what he does, seemingly every dang game he pitches. Wins don’t matter, but that was his ninth and he’s on a 26-win pace right now which I thought wasn’t supposed to happen anymore. The Tigers won the nightcap, thanks in part to them striking out Aaron Judge five times. He struck out three times in the first game. Those eight Ks in a twin bill is a new record. Yay? In other news, Giancarlo Stanton got hit in the face by Mike Fiers a few years back, putting him out for a long, long time with facial injuries. Fiers plunked Stanton in the arm last night. You can imagine that Stanton didn’t care for that too much. Stanton also hit a homer off of Fiers so I guess it’s all good.

Giants 10, Diamondbacks 3Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Crawford hit back-to-back bombs to start off the fourth inning and Alen Hanson and Buster Posey each added two-run doubles in that seven-run frame. That effectively ended the contest. With the win, the Giants are back to .500. Two games separate the top four teams in the NL West. The Last place Padres are only 4.5 out. No one has covered themselves with glory in that division this year, but it may be an entertaining race at least.

Padres 11, Braves 4Cory Spangenberg, Raffy Lopez, Eric Hosmer and Franmil Reyes all went deep as the Padres keep up their winning ways. They really thumped Atlanta pitching too, with nine of their 13 hits going for extra bases. Some of that was due to Braves starter Julio Teheran coming out of the game early with a bruised thumb, making way for reliever Luiz Gohara who came in and promptly allowed six runs on six hits. To be fair, though, Teheran wasn’t exactly setting the world afire himself.

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.