Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are “working hard” to trade Sonny Gray.
This is not exactly news inasmuch as they’ve been said to want to move Gray all offseason, but now that they have signed Adam Ottavino, the desire to get rid of Gray is even greater in that doing so will save them some dough. Ottavino is going to make around $9 million next season. Gray is due $7.5 million in 2019.
The Yankees have certainly handled Gray oddly this winter, saying loud and clear that they want him gone, then saying, once CC Sabathia required a heart procedure, that they’d consider keeping him if Sabathia’s recovery were somehow delayed. Not exactly leverage-creating behavior, nor is it any kind of a vote of confidence in Gray in the off chance that they end up going to camp with him in tow. “We didn’t want you, Sonny, but eh, stuff happens, ya know?”
At any rate, a change of scenery would probably be best for Gray. He posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances last year, but he’s not that far removed from being an effective starter and, at 29, he still stands a decent chance of bouncing back to respectability.
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.