Yasmani Grandal announced his return to the lineup with a bang. He was placed on the IL after crumpling to the ground on July 5th with a knee injury that forced him to miss 45 games. It was worth the wait. Grandal erupted for four hits, including two home runs, and a franchise-record eight RBIs in a 17-13 win over the Crosstown-rival Chicago Cubs.
Two days later he hit another home run. It marked his 10th RBI in just three games since returning from injury. The solo shot also gives Grandal 17 round-trippers on the year. He is second on the team in home runs despite playing just 66 games. Grandal’s OBP is also hovering around .400.
Early in the season fans were grumbling that the White Sox opted to go with Yasmani Grandal as a long-term solution at catcher over James McCann. Frustrations mounted when the White Sox let McCann walk during free agency and Grandal proceeded to start the season with a .127 average in April.
But on the year it is remarkable how much better Grandal has been. In 99 games, James McCann has nine home runs, 35 RBIs, a .660 OPS, 0.3 WAR, and a WRC+ of 85. Meanwhile, Grandal has 17 home runs, 48 RBIs, a .890 OPS, 2.3 WAR, and a WRC+ of 148. All of his numbers are better despite playing in only 66 games.
While many fans would have liked to see McCann return as a backup it was not feasible for the White Sox. Grandal’s four-year 73 million dollar contract assured that. Grandal continues to prove that moving on from McCann was the right move.
This is not to take away from the great thing McCann did with the White Sox. He helped usher in the end of the rebuild with his 2019 All-Star performance and was a key contributor in the White Sox first postseason appearance since 2008. He instantly became a fan favorite. But since leaving Chicago McCann has regressed to what he has always been. A slightly below-average catcher.
Grandal has turned himself into a core member of this championship-caliber group. He was the White Sox hottest hitter before undergoing midseason surgery. The 32-year old veteran has provided power, on-base skills, and clutch hitting. The work he does behind the plate should not go unnoticed either. His competitive edge is infectious.
“No matter if I’m playing in the minor leagues or the big leagues, if I’m catching, that’s my staff. That’s the way I see it,” Grandal told reporters when asked about his ejection from his final rehab game in Charlotte.
“When I first signed here I said I don’t like to lose, whether I’m on a rehab start or-I don’t really care where I’m at, I don’t like to lose. I’m very competitive, and I’m going to do whatever it takes.”
Grandal puts in hours of prep work behind the scenes and works wonders with the pitching staff. As October comes creeping around the corner there is also one other thing that Grandal brings to the table. Multiple years of playoff experience. The same cannot be said for James McCann.
All of you arm-chair GMs know who you are. It is time to embrace Yasmani Grandal as the catcher and admit that letting go of McCann was the correct move.