White Sox rumors: Yasmani Grandal surfaces twice

(Ian D'Andrea / Flickr)

The White Sox acquired Ivan Nova on Tuesday while the Phillies signed Andrew McCutchen, reminding everybody that teams can solve other roster spots while the world revolves around Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. 

The White Sox still have gaps to go, including one they created when they moved Omar Narvaez to open their offseason. They still need another catcher to complete their backstop built for two, and it’s not going to be Seby Zavala or Zack Collins. Zavala first has to show he can handle Triple-A pitching, and Collins’ to-do list is far longer.

Castillo is under contract for at least one more year and has seasons worthy of starting in his past, which gives the Sox a lot of flexibility in the kind of second catcher they can pursue. I evaluated the field earlier this month, and only Robinson Chirinos has found a home since. Ken Rosenthal spanned the spectrum in one tweet:

In order, he presents:

  • Grandal, who does just about everything well and would start.
  • Maldonado, who has defined strengths (defense, basically) and weaknesses (offense, basically) for complementing. 
  • McCann, who wasn’t good enough for the Tigers.

McCann makes sense as a third catcher/Triple-A caddy, because he’s been around the block and has shown flashes of adequacy. His best case for a backup job is more speculative — that maybe he’s overexposed making 100-plus appearances like he’s done in each of the last four years, but 60 would fit him better.

But again, the Tigers were in a position to benefit from anything McCann could contribute, and had no interest in finding out. (More on this later.)

The Sox should set their sights higher, and likely will. Of the three catchers Rosenthal listed, Grandal is the only one with a second source:

For what it’s worth, Dan Hayes wrote a story in August 2017 about the relationship between Grandal and Collins

Grandal likes what he has seen from Collins since the outset. He liked how much effort Collins, who was 15 at the time, put into training sessions as he attempted to match the pace of Grandal’s rigorous offseason conditioning program. Collins could only manage to do part of the training and said he always felt like he had run a marathon afterward.

“I put him through a lot of hard work,” Grandal said. “I had a vision for him, and I needed to get him to where I see him (being) in a short period of time. He needed to put the work in. I think we made lots of strides toward that goal.”

… but as I mentioned in the Nova post this morning, it’ll be refreshing when any mentor/leadership value is secondary to the addressing of a talent shortage. That’s the appeal of a Grandal, whose talent would be front-and-center with any signing. The lesser suggestions are wearing on me a little:

And that’s especially the case if it so happens that Detroit GM Al Avila is closer to the truth. When asking about the void left by the non-tendered McCann, Avila didn’t really wax poetic (emphasis mine).

“You always want good strong leadership in your clubhouse,” he said. “We are going to have to have other guys step up. Other guys have to be prepared. It’s just like, if you are running a company and you have a guy in charge of something, you better have another guy coming up behind him, because the guy in charge now might move on.

“It’s no different in a clubhouse.”

Here, though, was the kicker:

“I think in our situation right now, that leadership part can be overstated,” he said. “There is value to it, but we just have to weigh everything out.”

I think there’s something to that, because even with James Shields’ guidance, the White Sox still walked a ton of guys, necessitating a move like the Nova trade.

The whole point of this rebuild is to benefit from players growing together — leaders emerge, personality clashes are worked out on smaller stages, and, hopefully, as Rick Renteria suggested in his media conference on Tuesday, the whole accountability angle stops being so performative:

“But I will venture to say this, I’ve said it enough publicly, they know how we want to play the game here. I think anybody who is thinking or contemplating becoming a White Sox, they know we go about it a certain way. I think the beauty of it now is that I can have players deal with players, which is what we’ve been trying to get to. Ultimately, they’re going to be able to police themselves.”

Hopefully the White Sox clubhouse will take a cue from its Red Sox counterpart in this regard. If the White Sox get the on-field leadership structure right, that might be the way to soften Renteria’s rougher edges, and not just with all the benchings.


  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Signing Grandal would cost a draft pick, however a decent (B or B+) prospect could be had by trading Castillo.


A 40ish draft pick would probably be irrelevant in the Sox trying to win in the 2020-2023 timeframe.

karkovice squad

It’s not unprecedented. They picked Erwin in the 2015 draft and included him in the Lawrie trade that year.

Patrick Nolan

Castillo’s trade value has to be practically zero.


The only role I see Castillo playing trade-wise is the “well, technically you should be giving us a player too” role of a salary dump + prospect deal.

Patrick Nolan

Yup. Similar to what we just saw for Nova.

Lurker Laura

I’m hoping that changes by July next season. Build himself some good will, let somebody take a chance.


Fangraphs projects Castillo at 2 WAR. That’s the 11th at the position. I think it’s a little high, but a ‘B’ prospect does not seem out of line as a return.


Steamer doesn’t take framing into account, so it’s not very useful for catchers. With framing, he’s like a 0.5-1 win player.


It’s fine to tell a 1 WAR player to bust his ass on every single play, a 1 WAR player is fairly replaceable. Tell a 5 WAR player to do that and you ought to be fired for incompetence. Of course the Sox have the history of Kenny Williams openly crabbing about Frank Thomas.


With the returns being discussed of a Thor or Andujar type level for Realmuto I am pretty surprised we havent seen a lot more teams come after Grandal who simply just costs money

karkovice squad

They have similar surplus value even if they arrive at it in different ways. Syndegaard’s a Super Two with 3 years of arb left and comes with injury risk. Andujar’s already used a year of service time and doesn’t have the likely ceiling of either player. Realmuto has only 2 years left.

It’s basically a challenge trade. And it’s in line with what the Sox could reasonably offer in prospects without tapping anyone Madrigal or better.


The upside of a front line starter like thor to me is massive, I think realmuto is at his absolute peak, thor has scratched the surface either way you create a hole to fill a hole doesnt seem all that efficient if you can simply sign a guy

karkovice squad

Which is offset by Super Two, injury risk of being a pitcher, and his actual injury history. But I repeat myself.

There are reasons Fangraphs ranked them closely in their ’18 trade values.

And, thinking you’ll come out ahead for one reason or another is exactly the nature of a challenge trade. e.g. Mets ditching injury risk, Yankees converting future value to present value. Marlins gonna Marlins.


Since he rejected the qualifying offer it also costs any team that signs him a draft pick and the money in their bonus pool for the draft, so it isn’t quite that cut and dry.

Lurker Laura

Adam Jones in isolation seems like a very bad, typically Sox move. But as complements to other pieces, maybe tolerable (platoon DH w/Palka?)


he has a 70 point lower career ops vs lefties… what type of platoon would you be talking about?

if they wanted a lefty mashing platoon dh partner on the cheap they may as well have kept davidson or avi

Lurker Laura

I dunno. I just knew he was right-handed, didn’t actually look up numbers. Hence my question mark.


Lot of off season left but if the sox fail to land a bunch of meaningful free agents they are probably best off letting Palka get 600 at bats


If Palka gets 600 at bats next season it is going to be a fun strike out race to watch between him and Moncada……


Technically, why can’t the WSox still sign either Davidson or Avi?


Adam Jones is such a White Sox move.


? I like that? https://t.co/a02UUCz9AY

— T A 7 (@TimAnderson7) December 12, 2018


I’m fully aware that Harper is much better than Jones, but I can see why Timmay might prefer Jones to another clubhouse LaRoche.


He fits in nicely with their offensive philosophy of never taking walks.


I’m not exactly sure what Adam Jones is good at right now. If we’re doing the declining vet to contribute somewhat and be a mentor, how would it not be local product and alleged saint, Curtis Granderson? Keep him out of CF and staple him to the bench against LHP, but he still at least had a 119 wRC against righties.


One year of Grandyman would fit nicely. Good mentor to the young outfielders. Keep him in the org. after his playing days as OF instructor.
Who knew saints could come from Blue Island?


The G-rate has the fourth highest percentage of major food inspection issues compared to other MLB stadiums. http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/25316231/health-inspection-reports-find-critical-violations-nfl-nhl-nba-mlb-stadiums-2018-espn-lines#!

At least the team is near the top in something.