No, it wasn’t a dream: yesterday, the White Sox signed Yasmani Grandal, one of the two best catchers in baseball (arguably the best). When I wrote my mock offseason a mere week ago, I purposely did not include signings of players such as Grandal or Zack Wheeler. Both players figured to have robust and competitive markets, and I simply did not envision the White Sox winning a major bidding war. The only way they could have done so, in all probability, was by jumping the market and making an early signing.
Amazingly, that is exactly what happened. The mere fact that the White Sox learned from past mistakes and made a massive move opens up a whole world of possibilities that I did not fully consider. This offseason was predicted by many to mirror the last one, in the sense that there would still be quality unsigned players at the beginning of Spring Training. When Scott Boras suggested otherwise last week, I figured he was just attempting to spark the market for his players, like any good agent would do. However, he may be right, and if the Grandal signing is any indication, perhaps the White Sox offseason is already in full gear.
If the White Sox were willing to jump the market and pay a fair rate for Grandal, there is no reason they should be unable to do so for the two other players they have been most linked to: the previously mentioned Wheeler and Nick Castellanos. Wheeler and the Sox were linked heavily yesterday following the Grandal signing, and he is not represented by Scott Boras, which makes an earlier signing decision more likely. While Wheeler may see a deal in excess of $100 million, he would be a perfect fit in the White Sox rotation. As his market already appears to be strong, he could sign in a matter of weeks, if not days.
Castellanos, on the other hand, is represented by Scott Boras, but it may behoove the White Sox to execute their new strategy and offer him what is perceived to be his fair market value early on and see if he bites. An offseason consisting of signings of Grandal, Wheeler, and Castellanos seems too good to be true, but it is clear that the White Sox have interest in the latter two, and they certainly have plenty of money left to spend. The unexpected but pleasant signing of Grandal has made the prospect of a successful offseason infinitely more attainable. The front office’s new market strategy is working early on, so if it persists, the team’s next major announcement may arrive sooner rather than later.
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