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Cardinals place Michael Wacha on the disabled list

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The Cardinals placed starter Michael Wacha on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. Wacha suffered the strain during the fourth inning of yesterday’s start with the Phillies.

It sounds like it was a severe strain, with Wacha saying yesterday that he had trouble breathing it hurt so bad. That suggests an extended time on the disabled list. As it is, most guys who suffer strained obliques miss at least a month.

John Gant was called up from Memphis to take Wacha’s place on the roster. He, Daniel Poncedeleon, Dakota Hudson or some combination of the three are likely to see the most time filling in. Not that they can necessarily replace him. Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis, and his innings will be missed.

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.