White Sox rumored to be interested in veteran catcher and relief pitcher who made a bold claim regarding a baseball legend this past week.
When the White Sox traded Omar Narvaez to Seattle two weeks ago, it looked like they might start shopping the market for a replacement. It hasn’t taken long.
According to several sources – including ESPN’s Buster Olney – the White Sox have shown interest in Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Grandal has spent the last four years in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform, helping them to two National League Championships.
He received some criticism this past October from the LA fans and media, particularly after a disastrous Game 3 loss in the NLCS in which he struck out three times. He also allowed a passed ball, giving him three for the series after struggling in Game 1. He was replaced by catcher Austin Barnes, and his only other start during the postseason came in the Dodgers’ lone World Series victory.
Still, Grandal is a former All-Star with noticeable talent. Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago wrote:
"” Grandal is…great defensively, ranking second among qualified catchers in Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, with 9, better than Willson Contreras and J.T. Realmuto.” Vinne Duber"
With a lifetime batting average of .240, Grandal doesn’t immediately raise eyebrows as an offensive threat. However, he has surprising power as he’s shown by hitting over 20 home runs each of the last three seasons. His offensive struggles also are not beyond manageable.
"“When Grandal is laying off close pitches and drawing free passes, he becomes a lethal weapon. When he doesn’t, he becomes a lineup’s weakest link. The middle ground is narrow. It is the underlying factor in his extreme streakiness. He can carry an offense or sink one for weeks.” Jorge Castillo, LA Times."
In addition to Grandal, the Sox have also reportedly shown interest in former Colorado Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino in an effort to rebuild their bullpen. Earlier reports stated that the Sox were showing interest in reliever Jeurys Familia, but that came to an end when Familia signed a deal to return to the New York Mets.
Ottavino has never been an All-Star, but was seen as an important part of the Rockies’ bullpen last year when they made a trip to the NLDS for the first time since 2009.
According to Duber:
"“Ottavino finished the 2018 regular season with a 2.43 ERA in 77.2 innings of work. He gave up just 21 earned runs on the season, striking out 112 batters in his 75 relief appearances.”"
Ottavino has been in the news recently for comments he made about being able to strike out “The Babe”. Yes, that Babe. George Herman “Babe” Ruth.
On a recent podcast, Ottavino was quoted as saying he would strike out Ruth every time.
There’s a chance the quote may have been taken out of context. If not, it’s fair to say that – given enough experience – any pitcher might just be lucky enough to strike The Babe out…ONCE.
Whether Grandal or Ottavino comes to the South Side next season remains to be seen. It is interesting though that the Sox keep shopping, particularly on the West Coast.