Yasmani Grandal, the switch-hitter who is consistently among the most productive catchers in the game, on Thursday agreed to a free-agent contract with the Chicago White Sox.
The deal is for four years and $73 million, and Grandal will receive over $18 million a year over the life of the contract.
Following four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Grandal hit a career-best 28 home runs and batted .246 in 2019 for the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he’d signed for $18.25 million in mid-January. Because Grandal had received a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, the Brewers could not offer the same, so Grandal’s free agency was unburdened by the cost of a draft pick.
Grandal, 31, is considered an exceptional pitch framer and, in spite of passed-ball spikes in some seasons, a solid defensive catcher. He also started 16 games at first base for the Brewers.
The free-agent market for catchers was thin, furthering Grandal’s value. Travis d’Arnaud, who played six-plus seasons for the New York Mets before landing in May in Tampa Bay (where he hit 16 home runs in 327 at-bats), and Robinson Chirinos, the 35-year-old who hit two World Series home runs for the Houston Astros, were the other significant catching options.
Grandal is a two-time All-Star who has successfully played away from a 2012 suspension for elevated levels of testosterone. Then with the San Diego Padres, he served 50 games.
He is a career .241 hitter. He was more productive from the right side in 2019, but generally is better from the left side. In 33 postseason games, Grandal has hit .115 with 36 strikeouts in 78 at-bats.
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