Luis Severino
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Luis Severino likely shut down until August

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Yankees starter Luis Severino appears no closer to making his season debut with the team, according to recent reports from manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman. The right-hander suffered a bout of right rotator cuff inflammation prior to the start of spring training, and had finally started to work his way back to a throwing routine when he was sidelined with additional discomfort. An MRI revealed that he was only “about 90 percent healed,” and the Yankees have since said that they plan to keep him on the shelf until he makes a full recovery.

Whether the club should have seen the writing on the wall is another question. “In hindsight, an MRI probably would have been warranted,” Cashman told reporters Sunday. “He doesn’t like going in the MRI tube.”

Though Cashman admitted the Yankees made a mistake in rushing the starter back into pitching activity without undergoing additional tests, the damage has already been done. Now, it looks like Severino won’t be cleared to return to the rotation until late August, assuming he doesn’t run into further complications during his recovery.

George A. King III of the New York Post points out that the righty will still have to complete six weeks’ worth of spring training before slotting back into the rotation, and it’s not certain that he’ll be able to produce the sub-3.00 ERA and 5.0+ fWAR the Yankees are used to seeing from him, either. In 2018, the 25-year-old earned his second All-Star and Cy Young Award nominations by pitching to some career-high marks with a 19-8 record in 32 starts and a 3.39 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 10.3 SO/9, and 5.5 fWAR across 191 1/3 innings.

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.