ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that Cubs starter Yu Darvish got a second opinion on his injured right elbow from Dr. James Andrews and underwent an athroscopic debridement on Wednesday. The Cubs, who shut down Darvish last month, expect him to be ready in time for spring training next year.
The Cubs and Darvish agreed on a six-year, $126 million contract in February. The first year didn’t go as expected. In eight starts, Darvish posted a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks across 40 innings. He landed on the disabled list after his May 20 start against the Reds and never made it back to the mound.
Despite Darvish’s absence and lack of production, the Cubs still entered Wednesday two games up on the Brewers for first place in the NL Central. They will wrap up their three-game home series with the Brewers tonight and will wrap up the season with a makeup game in Washington, D.C. against the Nationals, three games against the Reds at home, three against the Diamondbacks and White Sox on the road, then head back home for four games with the Pirates and three with the Cardinals.
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.