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Yermin Mercedes Jersey White Sox

Very few people have used the free agent market to their advantage as well as Yasmani Grandal. After reaching free agency for the first time last offseason, Grandal was shackled by a qualifying offer. Despite declining a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets, he decided to bet on himself and sign a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers worth $16 million that also featured a mutual option worth $16 million with a $2.25 million buyout, bringing his total guarantee to $18.85 million. This figure beat the $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers that he declined but was nowhere near the guarantee that the Mets were allegedly willing to pay.

Grandal went on to have an excellent season in Milwaukee, slashing .246/.380/.468 with 109 walks to just 136 strikeouts, 28 home runs, and a well above-average 9.94 RF/9 behind the plate; he re-entered the market with no qualifying offer attached to his services. This time around, it didn’t take very long for Grandal to receive an offer to his liking, as he agreed to a four-year, $73 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. He will make $18.25 million every year, receive full no-trade protection for 2020, and have partial coverage for each of the remaining three seasons. To make room on the 40-man roster, the White Sox designated outfielder Daniel Palka for assignment.

Grandal is a monster addition to this organization. He figures to slot in the middle of the order, adding even more power to a lineup that already includes Jose Abreu. The White Sox are just about ready to compete in 2020 with budding stars Yoan Moncada (4.6 bWAR), Tim Anderson (4.0 bWAR), and Lucas Giolito (5.6 bWAR) establishing themselves, while other young players such as Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, and Zack Collins are beginning to reach the majors. Grandal will almost certainly take over as the primary receiver for the White Sox, moving top prospect Zack Collins to the role of designated hitter and 2019 catcher James McCann, barring a trade, to a backup role.

While McCann was an All-Star in 2019, his .273/.328/.460 batting line was fueled by a .359 BABIP, and he posted an OPS+ of 57 the season prior (.220/.267/.314, .581 OPS). It makes sense for the White Sox to upgrade to a player who brings much more certainty based on a very strong track record in Grandal. I don’t, however, believe that the White Sox are planning to keep McCann as a backup. As it currently stands, their 40-man roster includes five players who can suit up behind the plate: Yasmani Grandal, James McCann, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, and Yermin Mercedes.

After sinking $73 million into Grandal, they may not want to give McCann a raise through arbitration, which could amount to as much as $5 million. That’s quite expensive for a backup catcher, especially when you have two additional catchers on the 40-man roster in Triple A. But for a starter who is coming off a season like McCann is, it’s a palatable figure. The White Sox could figure to cash in on McCann’s All-Star season via trade or, while unlikely, could even opt to non-tender him on December 2. This is a subplot that could be worth keeping an eye on.

Daniel Palka heads to DFA limbo after spending the vast majority of the 2019 season in Triple A, where he posted a batting line of .263/.374/.527 with 27 home runs over 471 plate appearances. He appeared in 30 games for the White Sox in 2019 as well but struggled mightily, slashing .107/.194/.179 (.372). He posted slightly better numbers over 449 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2018, slashing .240/.294/.484 with 27 home runs.

Palka will be out of minor-league options in the 2020 season and is exceptionally limited defensively, making it difficult to hide him on a major-league roster. He could draw a claim and move around a bit throughout the offseason based on his 27 major-league home runs in 2018, but Palka faces an uphill battle to make it back to the majors for 2020 Opening Day.

Yasmani Grandal Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a four-year, $73 million contract with free-agent All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal, the team announced Thursday.

“He’s such a quality guy,” White Sox president Ken Williams said of Grandal. “And for him to understand our messaging, our goals, our path, and to say, ‘I want to be a part of that and I’m going to commit to it early so we can move on to the next thing heading into the winter meetings,’ [it] just shows what kind of character we’re talking about.”

It is the biggest contract in the history of the White Sox franchise. Grandal, 31, will receive $18.25 million per season through 2023.

“There’s a lot of young talent,” Grandal said. “The way I looked at it, this team could be a dark horse in the next year or so.”

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White Sox take big step toward contending by signing Yasmani Grandal

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Last offseason, Grandal turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers and reportedly declined a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets.

He bet on himself to have a big year. It paid off.

After signing a one-year, $18.25 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, the switch-hitting Grandal posted career highs in homers (28) and RBIs (77) and earned his second All-Star appearance. He walked over 100 times to post a .380 OBP, which ranked first among major league catchers.

He also led all catchers in games played (153) and was second in extra-base hits (56), total bases (240) and RBIs.

Grandal declined to exercise his part of a $16 million mutual option with the Brewers for 2020, with a $2.25 million buyout, so he could again become a free agent.

“Unlike last year around this time, where the market was kind of completely nonexistent, this year was just slightly different,” Grandal said. “It seemed like there were several teams that were working hard within their limits to be able to compete. There were several teams that were really interested. The one thing that kind of stood out the most for me is the White Sox. I love their professionalism, their preparation and the direction of the program.”

General manager Rick Hahn said he met with Grandal at the general managers meetings in Arizona last week and reached an agreement on Wednesday night.

“Exciting day for us around here, being able to add one of the elite talents at a premium position,” Hahn said.

The White Sox went 72-89 in their seventh straight losing season and missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since the 2005 team won the World Series.

James McCann, 29, was the White Sox’s starting catcher last season and was an All-Star for the first time, hitting .273 with 18 home runs and 60 RBIs. He is signed for the 2020 season with a contract that carries a base salary of $4.9 million.

Hahn said either could be used at designated hitter, with Grandal also getting time at first base.

“Having too many guys who are quality big leaguers is a good thing,” Hahn said. “Not something that we necessarily view as a problem.”

With young players establishing themselves in the majors and promising prospects in the minors, the White Sox think they are setting themselves up to make a big jump.

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“This was all planned, going back five years ago when we started this and started thinking about [rebuilding],” Williams said. “We get ourselves in position with our young core and we could augment it with guys like this.

“… Clearly, we’re trying to put ourselves in a window that could very well start next year but extend to the next five to seven years.”

Led by right-hander Lucas Giolito, the White Sox could have a solid rotation in 2020 if Michael Kopech bounces back from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease develops as the team has envisioned.

Offensely, Tim Anderson led the majors with a .335 batting average, and Yoan Moncada had a breakthrough season, hitting .315 with 25 homers and 79 RBIs. Eloy Jimenez showed pop as a rookie, with a .267 average, 31 homers and 79 RBIs.

Prized outfielder Luis Robert figures to debut next spring, and promising second baseman Nick Madrigal also is in the pipeline.

“I’m not going to prognosticate how this plays or how people should interpret it or what this means in terms of what we’re going to do next,” Hahn said. “Generally, in my experience, people don’t want to hear about the labor; they want to see the baby. We had a boy today, I guess. … My point being the impact this has on future deals, we’ll talk about after there’s future deals.”

Grandal, who leads all major league catchers with 117 homers since 2015, has a career .241 batting average with 141 home runs, 416 RBIs and 374 runs scored over eight seasons with the Brewers, Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was the bench coach for the Padres while Grandal was with San Diego.

To make room on the roster for Grandal, the White Sox designated outfielder Daniel Palka for assignment.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Foster Jersey White Sox

Ahead of a Wednesday deadline to protect players ahead of December’s Rule 5 Draft, the Chicago White Sox purchased the contracts of seven players, including pitcher Dane Dunning and outfielder Blake Rutherford.

The moves by the White Sox leave their 40-man roster at maximum size, and means that the players cannot be selected in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 12.

The team opted to protect Dunning, along with pitchers Zack Burdi, Matt Foster and Jimmy Lambert. Hurler Bernardo Flores Jr. was also protected, along with catcher Yermín Mercedes and Rutherford.

According to the White Sox, five of the players are ranked among their Top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, including Dunning, Rutherford, and Lambert.

Per MLB rules, any player chosen in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on his new team’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season, and the selecting team must pay the player’s original team $50,000.

If a team later wants to send a Rule 5 player back to the minors, they must clear waivers, and the team they were drafted from gets first rights to bring the player back into their organization for a cost of $25,000.

Dane Dunning Jersey White Sox

It’s non-tender deadline day, perhaps more often greeted by the casual observer with a question mark as opposed to an exclamation point, but an important day on baseball’s offseason calendar, nonetheless.

The White Sox, along with their 29 major league compatriots, have until Monday night to tender contract offers to their arbitration-eligible players or to decide not to, sending them to free agency. The White Sox have decisions to make on six players: Alex Colome, James McCann, Leury Garcia, Carlos Rodon, Yolmer Sanchez and Evan Marshall.

Here’s what to expect.

Yolmer Sanchez

Sanchez has been the most discussed of this group, and indeed his time with the White Sox already appears to be over. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported last week that the team placed its Gold Glove second baseman on outright waivers and that Sanchez cleared those waivers and will head to free agency. Sanchez, who had repeatedly said he wanted to stay with the only organization he’s ever known, followed with a social-media post or two indicating he was going to try to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. The team, aside from a comment from manager Rick Renteria, has not officially announced anything involving Sanchez’s status.

Certainly the White Sox moving on from Sanchez wasn’t difficult to foresee. Nick Madrigal, the team’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft, is on the doorstep of the major leagues and is expected to be the starting second baseman on the South Side for the bulk of the 2020 campaign. While Sanchez plays some exceptional defense, he can’t match what Madrigal — a top-40 prospect in baseball who has also been touted as an elite defender — can do with the bat. Sanchez slashed just .252/.318/.321 in 2019, while Madrigal tore up the minors to the tune of .311/.377/.414 and struck out only 16 times in 120 games. In the end, Sanchez would have been an expensive reserve infielder, projected to make $6.2 million in arbitration.

Alex Colome

There are certain corners of the White Sox internet that look at Colome’s second-half splits and lack of strikeouts and see doom coming around the bend. Indeed, Colome did fare much worse after the All-Star break than he did before it, with a 3.91 ERA and a frightening .265/.347/.422 slash line against in the second half after posting a 2.02 ERA and holding hitters to a .127/.194/.288 line in the first half. Is that worth a projected $10.3 million? That’s the decision the White Sox face.

But Colome has been one of the more productive ninth-inning men in baseball in recent seasons, even if the second half of 2019 didn’t look so good. Since the start of the 2016 season, he’s posted a 2.78 ERA and saved 126 games, a total that would be significantly higher if not for his playing setup man for the majority of 2018.

In a 2019 season featuring plenty of problems from the rotation and lineup, the bullpen was a reliable unit for the White Sox, with a 4.31 ERA that ranked seventh in the American League, behind only the five playoff teams and the Cleveland Indians, who narrowly missed the postseason. Stability at the back end with Colome and Aaron Bummer is a good thing to head into 2020 with, especially with so many other holes that need filling on the roster. The White Sox likely don’t want to add potentially expensive bullpen help to their offseason to-do list.

James McCann

The White Sox tendering McCann a contract is a no-brainer, but he’s been talked about an awful lot since the team inked free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to the richest contract it’s ever given out a couple weeks ago. McCann doesn’t figure to go anywhere, even with another All-Star backstop now ahead of him on the depth chart. McCann was a heck of a find by Rick Hahn last offseason, and having two good catchers is better than having one, especially considering the lineup permutations Rick Renteria might be forced to come up with if the White Sox front office opts for a DH rotation of Grandal, McCann, Jose Abreu and Zack Collins.

But McCann will be talked about on a variety of levels as the offseason goes on, too. If the White Sox could sell high on a guy who made the All-Star team last season — but who also batted just .226/.281/.413 in the second half — would they take that opportunity? Or will McCann stay on and serve as a personal catcher of sorts for Lucas Giolito after the duo had such incredible success in 2019? The White Sox have options, but no matter which path they end up traveling down with McCann, they’ll almost surely do so after tendering him a contract Monday.

Leury Garcia

Another seeming no-brainer, Garcia is likely destined for the role of utility man on the 2020 roster after playing in 140 games in 2019 and starting in 135 of them. His projected $4 million is less than Sanchez’s projected $6.2 million, and he can play all three outfield positions in addition to the three positions on the infield Sanchez can play. His .310 on-base percentage and relative light-hitting ways might not have been what some fans wanted to see from an everyday player last season, but as a guy off the bench once Luis Robert and Madrigal reach the major leagues, Garcia figures to be an asset for Renteria and the White Sox.

Evan Marshall

Marshall is also a seeming lock to get a contract tendered Monday after he was a key member of the White Sox late-inning corps in 2019. They picked him up as a minor league free agent, and he turned in a 2.49 ERA in 50.2 relief innings. Hahn is always reminding us about the volatility of relief pitching, so it’s difficult to say we should expect a repeat performance from Marshall. But he’s slated to hold a key bullpen position in 2020, as well, making him well worth a projected $1.3 million.

Carlos Rodon

The White Sox only have two years of team control remaining with Rodon before he’s slated to hit free agency. Between the contract situation and all the significant arm injuries he’s suffered in recent seasons, it’s not at all easy to project him as a long-term member of the rotation. That being said, it would be shocking to see him non-tendered Monday. The team has suggested all along that he’s still very much part of their plans. The White Sox are still hoping that even after a long layoff while recovering from Tommy John surgery that he can become the pitcher they envisioned he’d be when they took him with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. That has been a bit of a challenge for Rodon, who’s shown flashes of strikeout-heavy brilliance, as well as frustrating bouts of ineffectiveness. Prior to having the surgery this year, he had a 5.19 ERA in seven starts.

But the White Sox figure to crave all the starting pitching they can muster in 2020. On the hunt for a couple offseason additions, they also have plans to limit Michael Kopech — who’s returning from his own Tommy John surgery — and can’t be 100-percent certain what they’ll get out of still-promising youngsters Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez. The contributions of pitching prospects Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert remain mysteries, too, as they return from Tommy John in the middle of the season.

Bottom line: Whatever the White Sox can get out of Rodon in 2020, they’ll happily take, making the projected $4.5 million seem plenty doable.

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Zack Burdi Jersey White Sox

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — The White Sox have arrived at the point in their rebuild where they should improve their roster significantly, take the next step and play to win.

The time has come when general manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams should be feeling more than a little pressure after seven consecutive losing seasons.

This offseason calls for boldness, fearlessness and shrewd risk-taking. Read into it what you will, but Williams was in a good mood after checking in Monday at the Omni Resorts, the site of the annual general managers meetings.

‘‘We’re here to do business as usual,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Well, not usual. More than usual.’’

Let’s hope so. These meetings set in motion preliminary talks and texts among GMs and with agents, laying the groundwork for offseason plans. And while you will hear the Sox linked to most, if not all, of the free agents — including Scott Boras clients Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg — we won’t know how serious their intentions are until offers are made, then accepted or rejected.

With little in the way of bad contracts on the books and minimal payroll obligations for 2020, think of the possibilities. The Sox have cash to spend and no reason to stash it any longer.

‘‘We do have some economic flexibility,’’ Hahn said in September. ‘‘That was part of the plan from the start.’’

Hahn, the face and voice of the rebuild, had yet to arrive because his flight was delayed in snowy Chicago. He will address media Tuesday and Wednesday to share his first formal thoughts about the offseason. Expect him to play things closer to the vest he did than last offseason, when he made his intentions to pursue free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper clear.

Remember how that worked out?

The Sox will sign free agents, but they will make trades, too. And because you never know whether a player such as Kyle Schwarber or Kris Bryant can be pried away from a Cubs team looking to retool under a first-year manager, something off the map shouldn’t be ruled out.

Four years into their rebuild, the Sox figured their farm system would be deep enough now to use prospects to add established or major-league-ready players to their roster. But their ample supply of minor-league outfielders, as a whole, stalled in 2019. Injuries were a factor, as they also were with pitchers such as Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, Zack Burdi and Jimmy Lambert. So Hahn’s pool of prospect pieces is limited.

If that means taking a chance by doing the nearly unthinkable and trading, say, shortstop Tim Anderson or third baseman Yoan Moncada in a two- or three-for-one blockbuster that brings them closer to winning a World Series sooner than later, the Sox should pull the trigger. And perhaps pony up and sign Rendon to play third while they’re at it.

Moncada and Anderson are building blocks and potential future All-Stars being brought along in a young group that also includes outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Lucas Giolito. But the Sox’ offseason motto should be ‘‘Whatever it takes,’’ even if it hurts a little.

Of course, the Sox rather would see Moncada and Kopech flourish and make the Chris Sale trade — already a winner for the Red Sox because the left-hander helped them win the World Series in 2018 — a victory for both sides. They want to see Anderson, their first-round draft choice in 2013 and the reigning American League batting champion, take the next step defensively and show the baseball world they can draft and develop. They want Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease to give them a decided victory over the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade.

Here’s to seeing those things happen. More important, Sox fans say, here’s to winning again. The pressure is on Hahn and Williams to make that happen in 2020.

Eloy Jimenez Jersey White Sox

Eloy Jimenez will start winter ball in the Dominican Republic this weekend — a surprise development for a player of his pedigree after a relatively successful rookie season with the White Sox.

To Jimenez’s credit, though, he knows he’s far from a polished left fielder. In fact, he wasn’t very good in the field while slugging 31 homers, posting a .267/.315/.513 hitting line and finishing strong for the Sox in September. So he’ll grab his glove and get to work trying to make himself more serviceable.

“I would rather he just have a little break, get himself ready for the next season,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “But this kid’s not going to stop until he reaches what he wants to be.”

Renteria, who was in town with his wife, Ilene, to serve Thanksgiving dinners at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the West Loop on Tuesday night, is among those who believe Jimenez can be a capable left fielder.

“This young man is going to be a really, really outstanding major-league baseball player on both sides of the baseball,” Renteria said. “It’s just continuing to stay sharp, get experience and play. You don’t usually have a lot of guys play winter ball. But he’s a guy just loves playing.”

The Sox are entering a season in which they could contend, should they bolster their roster with two or three significant free agents or additions via trade, and they took an important step when they signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a team-record four-year, $73 million deal last week. They likely will have to improve defensively to be the kind of team that plays meaningful games in September. In 2019, they ranked 25th among the 30 teams in defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs. Only four teams committed more errors. What’s more, the Sox’ Gold Glove second baseman, Yolmer Sanchez, was placed on waivers Monday, his expected $6.2 million salary via arbitration deemed too pricey for an infielder who hit two homers in 2019.

“He’s going to help somebody,” Renteria said. “Maybe it’s us still.”

If Sanchez isn’t claimed, it’s possible he comes back on a smaller deal, Renteria suggested. But Sanchez probably wants to be a starter.

“This kid is an outstanding personality and a player who knows how to play the game,” Renteria said. “He can do little things to help you win.”

Renteria, who has managed the Sox through three losing seasons in their rebuild, hopes the front office does bigger things to help them win in addition to nabbing Grandal. Renteria said it’s time to think postseason.

“The organization has pivoted,” he said. “We are at a turning point and a very important phase of who we are as an organization. It’s time. It’s time to start being on the winning end more than the losing.

“Now you’re starting to go out and get some guys who have been around and have talent. I can’t speak for [general manager] Rick [Hahn] and everybody, but they’re working very, very hard to put things together for us. And it’s time. It’s time for us to start showing the promise that we’ve talked about. I think we started seeing little bits and pieces of it last year.”

Luis Alexander Basabe Jersey White Sox

It’s been about two weeks since the White Sox signed Yasmani Grandal to a four year, $73 million deal and Jim wrote about how it was a sense-making overload for a fanbase that’s been deprived of it. Between the Sox beating the market to a premium free agent, recognizing the unique value that said free agent provides to their organization, and showing themselves willing to upgrade over a cheaper, passable-but-flimsy incumbent, it all still feels surreal. The euphoria was dampened a bit by their failure to land Zack Wheeler, but the Grandal success brought back emotions that Sox fans have not felt in awhile.

There’s no question that it’s an excellent move, and inking Grandal should rate as a good idea regardless of how the next four years go. Viewed from that lens, I’ve been wondering where this decision ranks against the best moves the Sox have made this decade. Things like drafting Chris Sale or signing Jose Quintana as a minor league free agent would have a strong case if we’re allowed to use hindsight, but it would have been difficult to forecast the boon either would provide when they entered the organization. Instead, I’m looking at this from the perspective of the quality of the decision at the time it was made. Here are the contenders I can see for this discussion.

Something-for-Nothing Robberies

June 24, 2012: Acquired 3B Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox for UTIL Brent Lillibridge and SP Zach Stewart

This one seemed too good to be true when the Sox pulled it off. It was obvious that the Sox weren’t getting the star version of Youkilis, but given the state of the third base situation, getting a guy who could sniff league average was a huge upgrade. Brent Morel had turned the position into a sinkhole, and Orlando Hudson was just as bad when Morel succumbed to back injuries. Unfortunately, the 2012 White Sox sputtered late and never reached the promised land. Youkilis breaking down had a fair amount to do with that (.219/.306/.344 in September), but it was still unquestionably a great move to bring him in.

December 9, 2015: Acquired 2B/3B Brett Lawrie from the Oakland Athletics for LHP Zack Erwin and RHP J.B. Wendelken

The Sox had long-standing issues at both second base and third base, and this move seemed like another case of the Sox bringing in an average guy to solve their problems at minimal cost. One key difference from the Youkilis trade was the fact that Lawrie was young and still had some upside. Unfortunately, another key difference is that the low cost was in the form of unproven fringe prospects rather than proven rejects. While Erwin never reached the big leagues, Wendelken has had some success out of the A’s bullpen in the last couple years. Still, there was nothing to dislike about this move when the Sox made it.

Despite both of these trades seeming like victories, neither ultimately had the trajectory-altering scope of bringing in a star like Grandal.

Needle-Moving Trades

December 10, 2013: Acquired OF Adam Eaton from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three team deal for LHP Hector Santiago

The Sox sold high on Santiago and acquired Adam Eaton, a former B-grade prospect who hit well in a cup of coffee with the 2012 Diamondbacks but sputtered the following season, in part due to injuries. It was a good gamble that paid off handsomely, as Eaton’s three seasons with the White Sox averaged 4.5 fWAR. When the trade was made, there was considerable risk that Eaton’s bat wouldn’t materialize, but Rick Hahn did extremely well to get a player this interesting for an asset as questionable as Santiago.

December 16, 2015: Acquired 3B Todd Frazier from the Cincinnati Reds in a three-team deal for RHP Frankie Montas, 2B Micah Johnson, and OF Trayce Thompson

Frazier was the perfect centerpiece of the 2015-16 offseason that the White Sox never decided to complete. The Toddfather had shown an ability to hit bombs and deliver 4-WAR seasons at a position that the Sox have generally failed to solve in the ten years between Joe Crede and Yoan Moncada. The cost of the deal seemed very manageable, and only now that Montas has shown some juice as a starter (rather than the reliever we all thought he’d be) can one look back on any semblance of regret.

Compared to trading for Eaton, signing Grandal gets you a star who’s already established a high level of play, making him lower-risk. When measured against the Grandal signing, the Frazier trade feels like a lesser move due to the time horizon (two years of Frazier vs. four of Grandal), the prospect cost, and the fact that the Sox stopped augmenting their roster and failed to position themselves to take advantage of his presence.

The Big Sells

December 6, 2016: Acquired 2B Yoan Moncada, RHP Michael Kopech, OF Luis Alexander Basabe, and RHP Victor Diaz from the Boston Red Sox for LHP Chris Sale

December 7, 2016: Acquired RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, and RHP Dane Dunning from the Washington Nationals for OF Adam Eaton

July 13, 2017: Acquired OF Eloy Jimenez, RHP Dylan Cease, 1B Matt Rose, and INF Bryant Flete from the Chicago Cubs for LHP Jose Quintana

All three of these moves rated extremely well when they were made. All of them look even better in hindsight due to the development of the players and the fact that Hahn seemed to be able to cash in on his elite assets just before teams became more cautious about paying a high prospect cost for established stars. Hahn did as well as he possibly could with each of these sales, but given how much the Sox gave up in each (along with the associated feelings of resignation), the Grandal signing is arguably a bigger success than any of them.

If you’re like me and still feel like inking Grandal tops all of the above, there’s just one move left to consider:

The Previous Largest Free Agent Contract

October 17, 2013: Signed 1B Jose Abreu for six years, $68 million

After a disastrous 2013 that necessitated a rebuild, the Sox were in a perfect position to take a big gamble on a guy like Abreu and beat the market to a very exciting talent. In the process, they extended their connection with Cuban players to a new era of White Sox teams, which continues to pay dividends to this day. Abreu has certainly exceeded expectations in his time with the White Sox, but unlike breakouts from guys like Jose Quintana or even Adam Eaton, there was a very strong possibility that Abreu would become a stellar run-producing bat from the second the ink dried. This was exactly the move the Sox needed to begin to rebuild their team, and while little has worked out in the last six years, you can’t blame Abreu.

***

There’s still time for the White Sox to add another contender to this list before the calendar flips to 2020, and let’s hope they do. Barring that, for me, the best move the Sox have made in the 2010s is down to signing Grandal and signing Abreu. It’s admittedly hard to discard emotions when comparing the logic underlying a signing that has already worked out very well and one that hasn’t been tested yet, but let’s try. Without considering actual results, what is your pick for the best move of the decade?

Danny Mendick Jersey White Sox

CHICAGO –- José Abreu, Tim Anderson, Lucas Giolito, Yasmani Grandal, Eloy Jiménez, James McCann and Yoán Moncada headline a list of 14 current White Sox players scheduled to appear at McCormick Place West on January 24-25 for SoxFest 2020 – presented by Beggars Pizza, Guaranteed Rate, Old Dominion Freight Line, Securian Financial and Wintrust.

White Sox Manager Rick Renteria and members of the coaching staff are also scheduled to join players Aaron Bummer, Dylan Cease, Zack Collins, Leury García, Michael Kopech, Evan Marshall and Danny Mendick, as well as prospects Micker Adolfo, Dane Dunning, Luis González, Tyler Johnson, Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Andrew Vaughn and Steele Walker.

Additional special guests scheduled to attend the event will be announced in early January.

SoxFest two-day and single passes are available at whitesox.com/SoxFest. Fans are encouraged to purchase early for the 28th annual fan fest in its first year spanning the 100,000-square-foot McCormick Place West showroom floor.

With more opportunities for autographs and player interactions, SoxFest 2020 builds upon the family-friendly programming fans have come to know and love. This year’s experience includes a new mini-field, offering clinics for kids from White Sox youth instructors, a batting cage and speed pitch area, video gaming stations, face painting, balloon artists and more.

For the latest information about the event, including the full list of scheduled appearances at SoxFest, please visit whitesox.com/SoxFest.

James McCann Jersey White Sox

CHICAGO — All-Star catcher James McCann agreed to a $5.4 million, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Monday, more than doubling his salary.

The 29-year-old McCann was eligible for arbitration. He signed a $2.5 million, one-year deal with Chicago last December after Detroit didn’t offer him a contract for the 2019 season.

McCann set career highs with a .273 batting average, 18 homers and 60 RBI in his first year with the White Sox. He also was an All-Star selection for the first time.

The White Sox signed free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a $73 million, four-year contract last month. But McCann played a pivotal role in the development of Lucas Giolito into a front-line starter, likely cementing his return to Chicago.

McCann was selected by the White Sox in the 31st round of the 2008 amateur draft, but he decided to go to the University of Arkansas instead. He then was drafted by the Tigers in the second round in 2011.

McCann made his major league debut in September 2014 and spent his first five seasons with Detroit, batting .240 with 40 homers and 177 RBI in 452 games.

In other moves Monday, Chicago declined to offer 2020 contracts to Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sanchez and relievers Ryan Burr and Caleb Frare, making the trio free agents. Right-hander Thyago Vieira was released to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, closer Alex Colome, reliever Evan Marshall and utlityman Leury Garcia were tendered contracts, making them eligible for arbitration.

Zack Collins Jersey White Sox

The White Sox made one heck of a free-agent splash Thursday, announcing a four-year deal with catcher Yasmani Grandal that at $73 million is the richest in club history.

The move is totally in line with everything the White Sox have talked about adding to the team: an impact player from outside the organization, a hitter with power and on-base skills that can slot into the middle of the lineup, a player who meshes with the long-term plans and who can help transition things from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

But it didn’t address one of the team’s stated positional needs: right field, designated hitter and starting pitcher.

Don’t think for one second that’s a critique of this deal. Everything about this signing screams “bingo” for the White Sox as they are likely just getting started in what’s expected to be a busy offseason.

But there are some out there who might be asking, “Why would the White Sox spend big money on a catcher, a position they seemed to have filled, when they could spend that big money in more pressing areas?”

First off, priorities can change if new opportunities arise. The White Sox aren’t taking anything off the table this offseason, and that included upgrading at catcher.

“You still want to be opportunistic,” general manager Rick Hahn said during the GM meetings last week in Arizona. “You can’t control when certain opportunities arise, and we want to take advantage in the market and be flexible.”

The White Sox saw an opportunity with Grandal and made it happen.

“Still,” you might wonder, “why at catcher, where the White Sox already had an All Star in James McCann?”

McCann, under team control for one more season, was an All Star in 2019, and he deserved it after a sensational first half that saw him slash .316/.371/.502, a dramatic transformation from his five years of mediocre offensive production with the Detroit Tigers. After the All-Star break, however, those numbers returned to what they looked like when he played for the division rivals, a .226/.281/.413 line in his final 55 games of the campaign.

But despite that midseason All-Star status, it is reasonable to ask: Which McCann will the White Sox get in 2020? They can count on his work ethic, one described as unlike anything his teammates have seen. They can count on his work with the pitching staff, especially Lucas Giolito, who heaped plenty of credit on McCann in a season that saw the young righty finish seventh in the AL Cy Young vote. But can they count on his bat?

They can count on Grandal’s bat. He’s got more home runs than any catcher in baseball since 2015 (117) and ranks third among big league catchers in RBIs (322) during the same span. He hit 20-plus homers in each of the last four seasons. In 2019, he hit a new career high in that department with 28 long balls, also reaching career highs in RBIs and walks, with 77 and 109, respectively. Those 109 bases on balls were the fourth most in baseball, with two of the only three players to walk more being Mike Trout and Alex Bregman. Grandal had more than double the amount of walks of Yolmer Sanchez, who led the White Sox with 44 of them in 2019.

Behind McCann, there were options, sure. But unknown ones.

Zack Collins was slated behind McCann on the depth chart, though he provided little insight into what kind of offensive or defensive player he’ll be at the big league level in two brief stints of major league service in 2019. The .323/.441/.631 line he put up at Triple-A Charlotte in between those two stints provides hope he can be an impactful offensive contributor somewhere in the White Sox lineup.

Seby Zavala is still on the 40-man roster, though he picked up only one hit and struck out nine times in a dozen trips to the plate in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trip to the big leagues over the summer. Yermin Mercedes didn’t get the September call-up many fans were clamoring for after he hit an impressive .317/.388/.581 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs in the minors, and was guaranteed nothing more than a shot after the White Sox added him to the 40-man roster Wednesday, preventing another team from snapping him up in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

Grandal answers not just the immediate but the long-term questions about the catcher position. All the others — McCann, Collins, Zavala, Mercedes — could still factor into the mix. But Grandal takes a position that was a question mark and makes it an exclamation point.

The White Sox might have a solution at DH now, too. We’ll have to see how confident Hahn is in a potential rotation there involving Grandal, Collins, McCann and Jose Abreu. But expect the White Sox to continue looking outside the organization for help in right field and in the starting rotation, at the least. Just because they didn’t address those needs with their first addition of the winter doesn’t mean they won’t.

The White Sox need at catcher was nowhere near as pressing as needs elsewhere, true. But signing Grandal was an opportunity too good to pass up, and the White Sox capitalized with one of their biggest offseason splashes ever.

It makes all the sense in the world.

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