The Chicago White Sox made the right decision at the catcher position.
The Chicago White Sox made the decision to sign Yasmani Grandal in the 2019-20 offseason to a long term deal. That made it pretty clear that if James McCann had a good year in 2020 that he would be gone after to become a starter somewhere else. Well, he was great in 2020 and is now off to the New York Mets in free agency. That is a tough loss for the White Sox because they formed one of the best catching duos in all of baseball.
Despite it being a tough loss, they made the right decision. Some people may not see it on the surface but Grandal is a better baseball player than McCann. There is recency bias there because McCann, in a more limited role, had a better year in 2020. Grandal got off to a slow start during the COVID-19 shortened season and it took him a minute to catch up. By the end, it was clear that he is going to be a great White Sox catcher for a few years here.
Grandal has been in the league for only two years longer than McCann, but his career WAR is more than double. McCann was an average to a below-average player when he was on the Detroit Tigers. In his final year with them, he was below average enough for them to non-tender him and allow him to go to the White Sox for nothing. With the White Sox, he found some magic and it worked out for him but Grandal has been an elite catcher his whole career.
McCann is highly paid now by the Mets and he deserves credit for it but most baseball GMs or presidents would prefer Grandal. Outside of 2020, he has been better in every year. He was really coming on strong for the White Sox down the stretch too and was awesome in the playoffs. This is truly a player to be excited about going into 2021 because of how good he can be in any given year.
The one thing to be slightly concerned about with Grandal is his chemistry with Lucas Giolito. They got off to a rocky start in 2020 but started to figure it out. McCann caught Giolito better but that doesn’t mean Grandal won’t get on that level. They will come into Spring Training with a mindset that they are together now and will use that time to be ready for Opening Day.