Grandal, who just turned 31, ended up signing a one-year, $18.25 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers before the start of the season after not finding a multi-year deal to his liking.
After the 2019 World Series, Grandal declined his end of a mutual option for the 2020 season, making him a free agent.
Since he received a qualifying offer last offseason, Grandal was ineligible to receive another one this year, which means he will not be tied to draft pick compensation if signed.
The backstop is coming off an elite season with the Brewers in which he hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 home runs and 77 RBI to give himself a 121 wRC+ and 5.2 fWAR (FanGraphs).
Milwaukee valued his offense so much that he even made appearances at first base this season to keep his bat in the lineup as he played in a career-high 153 games in 2019.
Defensively, he ranked second in all of baseball in framing runs (19.4), third in FRAA (20.1), and 14th in blocking runs (1.8) according to Baseball Prospectus.
Essentially, Grandal does everything very well behind the plate and he’s a rare talent that can’t be found anywhere else.
The argument could certainly be made that the White Sox don’t need another catcher as James McCann had a breakout season for the team.
However, McCann ranked 107th in FRAA (-10.2), 104th in framing runs (-8.0), and 86th in blocking runs (-0.9).
That type of defense is simply not going to cut it long-term and impacts McCann’s value to the team long-term.
On top of it, prior to the 2019 season, he had a career .653 OPS, which suggests that his offensive production might not even be possible to maintain.
With that being the case, the team could either choose to have McCann as the team’s backup catcher or trade him to another team for a bullpen piece or prospect.
In terms of cost to sign Grandal, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors projects him to get a four-year, $68 million contract this offseason.
While that price tag is a little bit steep for a backstop, Grandal honestly is worth it having registered an fWAR of 4.1 or higher in each of the last five seasons, including three years in which his fWAR eclipsed 5.0.
For a team that will have a young pitching staff filled with the likes of Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, and eventually Carlos Rodon, having someone behind the plate that can be counted on consistently to lead the young pitching staff is essential.
McCann has not proven to be that stabilizing force defensively yet. With that being the case, acquiring Grandal should be a priority for the Chicago White Sox heading into a 2020 season that they hope to compete in.