The Chicago White Sox made the first major signing of the MLB off-season as they signed catcher Yasmani Grandal. The deal is worth 73 million dollars over four years and is the biggest signing in team history. Signing Grandal changes many perceptions about the White Sox both on and off the field.

Signing Grandal came as a shock to both fans and the media as there was no speculation or rumors to the two sides being interested. For the past few decades, the White Sox organization had garnered a negative reputation of being unwilling to spend on big-ticket free-agents. That reputation was enhanced following the team’s debacle in missing out on last off-season’s two biggest free agents in Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Thursday’s signing of Grandal now proves that the organization trying to reverse that perception.

From an on-field standpoint, the team gets something offensively and defensively that they have not had in some time. Last season with the Brewers, Grandal drew over 109 walks and finished the season with an on-base percentage of .380. The last time the White Sox had a player draw over 100 walks in a season was Adam Dunn in 2012. Last season, the team’s leader in walks was Yolmer Sanchez with just 44.

Defensively, Grandal is one of the league’s best defensive catchers as he is regarded as the best pitch framer in all of baseball. He will oversee one of the youngest starting pitching rotations in the majors next season that features Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, and potentially Zach Wheeler. He also stabilizes the catcher position that has been a revolving door for the White Sox since the departure of Tyler Flowers in 2015.

The signing also demonstrates that the White Sox are serious about contending in 2020 and are no longer in a rebuild. Sooner or later general manager Rick Hahn needed to sign a premier free agent to bolster the roster. The Grandal signing proves that Hahn is ready to sign more top-tier free agent talent moving forward. With the deal being worth four-years, it also shows that the organization may be done with the mid-tier stop-gap solution.

Thursday was a banner day for the White Sox and could be a pivotal day if the team wins a World Series title in the next few years. With the signing and possibly more, the White Sox will have playoff expectations heading in 2020 and rightfully so. Bringing in an elite catcher like Grandal is a move that changes everything for a franchise.