Yasmani Grandal A Game Changer For White Sox

By landing Grandal, the White Sox could be opening the door for more.

Bruce Levine
November 21, 2019 - 6:41 pm

(670 The Score) When looking at the White Sox's rebuild over the past three years, the common question was when will the front office step up and make a commitment for a big free-agent signing.

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General manager Rick Hahn took that step toward the future Thursday with the big signing of All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Grandal, 31, agreed to the richest contract in White Sox history with the four-year, $73-million deal. It wasn't $300-million-plus for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but the move could be more significant than bringing in a superstar. After all, you just need a reminder of what the Nationals did in winning the World Series without Harper.

In Grandal, the White Sox added a top defensive catcher who had the second-best pitch framing numbers in 2019. Grandal has averaged about 25 homers and just shy of 70 RBIs over the past four seasons, and he posted a slash line of .246/.380/.468 in 2019. More importantly, with a veteran backup catcher in James McCann, manager Rick Renteria has the luxury to get 600 at-bats from Grandal by also using him in the designated hitter role.

Of even more importance is the image of the White Sox having an arrow pointing up again. Last offseason, Hahn notably mentioned the White Sox "deserve to have a seat at the table" in reference to bidding on Machado and Harper. This Grandal signing potentially makes the South Side a landing place for other top free agents now.

"That may be the case going forward," Hahn said. "But (until) we convert on other signings, words are just that. If other free agents think that this is reinforcement for some of the things we have been telling them about the White Sox the last few weeks or going back to last year, that's great. Hopefully, there will be several moves over the next few months to continue that positive narrative."

Grandal, who has spent his entire career in the National League, looked at a video on the White Sox's pitchers as a part of his homework before signing. It's unclear if he envisions himself as a recruiter for the White Sox going forward.

"If you look at the young core, there is a lot of talent here," Grandal said. "The way I looked at it this team could be a dark horse in the next year or so. I think they got a taste (of competing) last year, maybe more from the offensive side. You got young guys that can swing the bat and play baseball. Hopefully, I can help them as much as I helped the guys in Milwaukee get through hit.they play with passion and play hard."

The next step for the White Sox brass will be to add pitching and outfield help. The underrated part of the Grandal signing is that it can help create more lineup balance.

The switch-hitting Grandal hit 17 of his 28 home runs from the left side in 2019. He and Yoan Moncada are the two switch-hitters now projected for everyday duty and currently represent the only left-handed bats in the projected lineup.

Grandal's .380 on-base percentage with the Brewers in 2019 was higher than any hitter on the White Sox. He had 109 walks last season -- 65 more than any player on the White Sox, as Yolmer Sanchez led them with 44.

The White Sox got off to a great start in free agency, but the focus is now on what's next? Could they add Dallas Keuchel or Zack Wheeler or Nick Castellanos?

Tighten your seat belt, the White Sox have more in mind.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.