Pirates sign two-time All-Star backstop
The Pittsburgh Pirates were apparently working the phones on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Pirates have reportedly agreed to a deal with All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Grandal is a two-time All-Star who made a name for himself as a plus bat from the catcher spot. But the 35-year-old’s performance at the plate has dipped over the last two seasons.
Grandal had a batting average of .219 with just 13 total home runs over his last two seasons with the Chicago White Sox. His last strong offensive season came in 2021, when he batted .240 with 23 home runs and an OPS of .939 across 93 games.
Last season, the Pirates deployed a platoon at the catcher position comprised of the trio of Austin Hedges, Jason Delay and Endy Rodriguez. Hedges was the team’s primary catcher until his was traded to the Texas Rangers. None of the three catchers played more than 70 games.
Grandal can step in and provide both a veteran presence and some offensive pop from the catcher spot in Pittsburgh.
White Sox Preferred Dominic Fletcher Over Jake McCarthy
Last week, the Diamondbacks traded from their outfield depth when they sent Dominic Fletcher to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for 21-year-old pitching prospect Cristian Mena. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale provides more insight into how that deal went down as part of his most recent column.
Per Nightengale, the White Sox had a choice between Jake McCarthy and Dominic Fletcher. That choice may have come down to the input from former D-backs farm director Josh Barfield, who oversaw both McCarthy and Fletcher’s development in Arizona’s system. Barfield currently serves as one of the White Sox’s assistant general managers under newly hired GM Chris Getz
Looking at the roster situation for both players, Fletcher has one more year of control and has one more option remaining than McCarthy. The additional roster flexibility, plus the former’s superior defensive profile, could have been the deciding factor for Chicago. Both players profile as fourth outfielders in Arizona, primarily to start against right-handers, with McCarthy having a
longer track record with 736 career plate appearances compared to Fletcher’s 102. The trade alleviates the left-handed hitting outfield logjam somewhat, with Jorge Barrosa also knocking on the door for a big league opportunities after a solid season in Triple-A Reno.