Yankees pitching prospect Justus Sheffield has been promoted to the big leagues, according to a report from Conor Foley of the Scranton Times-Tribune. The move has yet to be officially announced by the team.
Sheffield, 22, is the Yankees’ highest-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline. The left-hander was acquired in a deadline deal for reliever Andrew Miller back in 2016 and has been working his way through the lower levels of the Yankees’ farm system ever since. In 2018, he made the jump from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a cumulative 7-6 record in 20 starts and a 2.87 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 through 116 innings.
According to comments made by club GM Brian Cashman last month, the plan is to keep Sheffield in the bullpen for the time being. He was shifted to a relief role in Triple-A at the end of August and should be ready to assume a similar position at the major-league level sometime in September. It’s possible that the young lefty might also get a shot at the Yankees’ rotation when he reports to spring training next year, too.
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.