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Grandal heads to White Sox in free agency

Brewers seek alternatives after catcher hit 28 HRs for club in 2019
@AdamMcCalvy
November 21, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers officials had been fairly candid about their desire to bring back free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, but that option went off the board Thursday when Grandal signed a $73 million, four-year contract with the White Sox. That leaves the Brewers looking elsewhere to find a partner for

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers officials had been fairly candid about their desire to bring back free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, but that option went off the board Thursday when Grandal signed a $73 million, four-year contract with the White Sox.

That leaves the Brewers looking elsewhere to find a partner for Manny Piña, a defensive-minded veteran whose $1.85 million club option was exercised on Oct. 31. The Brewers also have catchers Jacob Nottingham and David Freitas on the 40-man roster, but it’s believed they will seek to upgrade at the position via trade or a free agent market that still includes the likes of Travis d’Arnaud, Robinson Chirinos, Jason Castro, Alex Avila and others.

The deal with Chicago pays Grandal $18.25 million each season, precisely what he earned on a one-year pact with Milwaukee in 2019 after failing to find a multi-year contract to his liking on the open market. Grandal proved worth the investment, hitting 28 home runs with a .380 on-base percentage and an .848 OPS while doing fine work behind the plate for a team that had the best September ERA in the Major Leagues.

In his final game in a Brewers uniform, Grandal smacked a two-run home run in the first inning of the National League Wild Card Game, a 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals.

He said that night that his season in Milwaukee “exceeded my expectations.”

“These guys were all open ears, and so was I,” Grandal said. “This was a group of guys that, even when you think they’re against a wall, they’re all having fun, laughing, joking around, and it seems to carry onto the field. I don’t think I ever smiled as much as I smiled this year on a baseball field, possibly in my whole career. The fact they were able to get me to do that, it was amazing. That’s why I liked it so much.”

He had more to say on Thursday after signing with the White Sox. Grandal authored a post on Instagram directed toward Brewers fans that read in part, “You guys took my family and I in with open arms and made it a very special year. We are grateful for all the love you showed us.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.