CHICAGO — Yasmani Grandal saw a young team stocked with promising pitchers and hitters. He envisioned a bright future for the Chicago White Sox, and he chose to be part of it.
No longer burdened by draft-pick compensation, Grandal found the multiyear contract he failed to get last offseason. The All-Star catcher agreed Thursday to a $73 million, four-year contract with the White Sox.
“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.”
Grandal turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers last November. A team signing him during the 2018-19 offseason would have lost a top amateur draft pick and he found a slow market. He agreed in January to a deal with Milwaukee that guaranteed $18.25 million: a $16 million salary for 2019 and a $16 million mutual option for 2020 with a $2.25 million buyout.
“Exciting day for us around here, being able to add one of the elite talents at a premium position,” general manager Rick Hahn said.
Selected for the All-Star team for the second time, the 31-year-old hit .246 and had career bests with 28 homers and 77 RBIs. He declined to exercise his part of the option and became a free agent again.
A free agent may only be given a qualifying offer once, so there was no draft-pick compensation attached this offseason. Chicago’s deal will pay him $18.25 million annually.
Chicago went 72-89 in its seventh straight losing season and missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since the 2005 team won the World Series.
Investigation into cheating ramping up
ARLINGTON, Texas — Major League Baseball has widened its investigation of alleged sign stealing by the Houston Astros and will probe activity by the team over the past three seasons.
After the conclusion of owners meetings Thursday, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB will “investigate the Astros situation as thoroughly as humanly possible.” The probe includes the team’s firing of an assistant general manager during the World Series for clubhouse comments directed at female reporters, behavior the club at first accused Sports Illustrated of fabricating.
“That investigation is going to encompass not only what we know about ‘17, but also ‘18 and ’19,” Manfred said. “To the extent we are talking to people all over the industry, former employees, competitors, whatever. To the extent that we find other leads, we’re going to follow these leads.”
Manfred has said for now the Astros are the only team being investigated for cheating allegations.
Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic in a story last week that while he was playing with the Astros during their 2017 World Series championship season the team stole signs during home games by using a camera positioned in center field. During this year’s playoffs, Houston players were suspected of whistling in the dugout to communicate pitch selection to batters.
Giants: Greg Johnson was approved as the new controlling owner of the San Francisco Giants. President and CEO Larry Baer still will represent the club at the meetings, along with Johnson and Rob Dean, who had been handling leadership duties since March. Baer was suspended without pay from March 4 through July 1 after a video showed him in a physical altercation with his wife.
Royals: John Sherman was approved as the new controlling owner of the Kansas City Royals, and his group plans to close its deal to purchase the last-place team from David Glass and his family next week. The proposed sale was announced Aug. 30 and was expected to be worth about $1 billion.
Phillies: Joe Dillon was hired as Philadephia’s hitting coach under new manager Joe Girardi. Dillon served as assistant hitting coach for the Washington Nationals for the past two seasons.