Blue Jays 1B/DH Kendrys Morales drilled a two-run home run off of Phillies starter Vince Velasquez in the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Toronto. It’s the seventh consecutive game in which he has homered, setting a new Blue Jays franchise record, surpassing the previous record of six held by Jose Cruz, Jr. If he homers again on Monday, when the Jays open up a three-game road series against the Orioles, Morales will match the major league record shared by Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987), and Dale Long (1956).
Morales finished Sunday 1-for-3 with t he homer and a walk in Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Phillies. He is now hitting .264/.343/.484 with 21 home runs, 53 RBI, and 43 runs scored in 397 plate appearances this season.
The 35-year-old Morales is under contract with the Jays for one more year, earning $12 million in 2019.
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.