Gio Gonzalez
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Report: Gio González to opt out of contract with Yankees

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Yankees left-hander Gio González intends to opt out of his contract, per multiple reports from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the Yankees will have 48 hours to add González to the active roster after he does so, the prevailing expectation is that they’ll hand him his release instead.

González, 33, inked a minor-league deal with the team in mid-March, after which he had just enough time to log a single outing in spring training. He stands to earn a $3 million salary if the Yankees elect to add him to the 25-man roster, with additional bonuses of $300,000 pending each start he makes after that.

So far this season, however, the veteran southpaw has done little to inspire a call-up after pitching to mixed results in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He issued 10 runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts over his first 15 innings in the minors, and missed his last chance to pitch for Scranton (and plead his case to the Yankees) after Friday’s game was rained out. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he then fired his agent, Scott Boras, and hired representation from CAA Baseball instead.

Still, it’s unlikely that this situation will turn out in González’s favor. There’s no doubt that he could boost his numbers to something resembling the 4.00-ERA, 2.0-fWAR results he produced for the Nationals and Brewers last year, but the Yankees are unlikely to take such an expensive gamble on the lefty right now, especially with a rotation that needs little improvement. According to FanGraphs, New York’s combo of James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia, and Domingo Germán currently ranks among the top 10 rotations in the majors with a cumulative 3.77 ERA and 2.0 fWAR — totals that González would be hard-pressed to improve on.

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.