This player has the richest contract in Chicago White Sox history

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Out of all the legends that have graced a Chicago White Sox uniform, Yasmani Grandal has the dubious distinction of being the highest-paid player in franchise history.

On November 21st, 2019, Rick Hahn sparked the hot stove by inking Grandal to a four-year deal worth $73 million dollars. The move signaled that the White Sox were moving out of the rebuilding phase and into their contention window.

Since the 2016 season, Grandal ranked first amongst catching leaders in RBIs (302), second in home runs (109), extra-base hits (211), and doubles (97) while placing fourth in on-base percentage (.347) and slugging (.463). He also had two All-Star appearances and 36 postseason games under his belt, which made him the most attractive catcher on the market.

While his deal is the richest in White Sox history, it pails in comparison to some of the contracts dished out this offseason. Before the MLB work stoppage, Max Scherzer received a three-year deal with the Mets worth $130 million while the Rangers shelled out a seven-year deal worth $175 million to Marcus Semien.

Yasmani Grandal has been a great player for the Chicago White Sox so far.

The White Sox has a history of being hesitant to hand out large contracts like this. With that in mind, let’s access how the Yasmani Grandal deal has worked out for them halfway through his contract and if it will affect how the White Sox do business in the future.

In 2020, his numbers did not jump off the page. During the 60 games shortened season he hit .230 with just 8 home runs and 27 RBIs. However, he led the White Sox with 30 walks. His .396 OPB in 32 games as a catcher led all MLB catchers.

He also showed his power when it counted. Grandal blasted a walk-off home run off of Ian Kennedy in extra innings during a critical game in late August. When the postseason rolled around, he homered in Games 1 and 2 of the AL Wild Card Series.

In the process he became the first player to homer in his first two playoff games with the club, joining Joe Crede and Paul Konerko as the only players to homer in back-to-back postseason games in franchise history.

On the defensive side, he really shined. Grandal was named an American League Rawlings Gold Glove Finalist. He was an excellent pitch framer and according to FanGraphs, he was the second-best defensive catcher in baseball.

In 2021, he got off to an odd start. An injury suffered during spring training hampered his production at the plate. In June, his .131 batting average was the lowest in the MLB. However, he still managed to post a .385 OBP with a league-leading 29.2% walk rate.

He had a stretch in May where he walked 13 times in a four-game span, tying a record in the modern era set by Babe Ruth and Bryce Harper. Then, Grandal got his legs under him and his power surged. He finished the season second on the team with 23 home runs despite missing a significant chunk of the season with a knee injury suffered in July.

He raised his batting average to .240, drove in 62 RBIs, and posted a .940 OPS. In, September, he was virtually impossible to get out batting .320 with a .470 OBP. The offense was noticeably better with him in the lineup.

He seemed to have a knack for the clutch gene as well. He drove in the winning run with two outs in the fifth inning in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The night before, he was called upon to pinch-hit with the White Sox trailing 2-0 in the seventh inning. He blasted a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw.

He also hit a walk-off single against the Tampa Bay Rays giving the White Sox the best record in the AL at the time. On June 4th, he hit two home runs against the Detroit Tigers including a game-tying shot with the White Sox trailing with two outs in the seventh inning. In the postseason, he tacked on another home run during the ALDS.

In conclusion, when you pay for high-priced players, you get high-priced results. The beauty of the contract is that they are not tied to Grandal for a long period of time and just over $18 million a year is perfectly reasonable for the production Grandal is giving them.

If the front office is going to take away anything from this deal, it’s that sometimes you need to open up your checkbook if you want to win games. This philosophy remains true this offseason when the lockout ends. The White Sox have holes to fill and can’t afford to play it cheap if they want to continue competing with the top dogs in the American League.

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