While Yasmani Grandal‘s new one-year deal with the Brewers doesn’t have a direct impact on the Dodgers‘ player roster, it does indirectly check one option off the list of players who will be seeing action behind the plate in Los Angeles in 2019.
After the Dodgers had offered a Grandal a qualifying offer of $17.9 million dollars not long after the end of the 2018 season, the 30-year-old backstop ultimately settled on a pact that will pay him $18.25 million in Milwaukee. Somewhere in between, Yasmani reportedly rejected a deal from the Mets that could have netted him more than $50 million over four years.
Despite Grandal rejecting the QO, there were still rumblings as of late that the Dodgers were pitching him a short-term deal. Those rumors came after Los Angeles missed out on signing free agent Wilson Ramos, who agreed to a two-year/$19 million contract with those same Mets several weeks ago.
Seemingly, the popular choices remaining for the Dodgers have dwindled down to All-Star J.T. Realmuto via trade, along with free agents Martin Maldonado and Matt Wieters. Apparently, talks with Miami have reached a point of impasse because the Marlins will not budge from their demands of receiving Cody Bellinger plus prospect(s) in exchange for the 27-year-old Realmuto, who is still under team control for two seasons.
The reactions from fans of the Dodgers regarding Wednesday’s Grandal signing have been mixed. Many remember his blunders in the 2018 postseason, most specifically Game 1 of the NLCS when he managed to account for two errors and two passed balls, becoming the first player in MLB history to accomplish such a feat.
Consequently, there is the group of fans who saw contributions in terms of overall WAR. Last year, Grandal posted an impressive 3.6 WAR and was projected to produce a 3.1 WAR for the coming year, according to Steamer. Coincidentally, Realmuto led all MLB catchers last season with a 4.8 WAR.
As far as raw numbers go, Grandal hit .241/.349/.466 with 23 doubles, 24 long balls and 68 RBI over 140 games and 518 plate appearances for Los Angeles in 2018. He tallied 124 strikeouts last season, which was fourth on the club behind Chris Taylor (178), Cody Bellinger (151) and Max Muncy (131). Over the course of his seven-year big league career, Grandal has slashed .240/.341/.441, while logging 113 homers and 339 RBI.
Grandal is commonly recognized as one of the best pitch-framers in baseball. He has ranked among the league’s Top 5 since pitch-tracking technology was introduced by Statcast in 2015. Still, the University of Miami product has frequently been criticized for his glove work, which is often the consequence for superb pitch framing. During the 2017 season, he led the majors with 17 passed balls.
Presently, 29-year-old Austin Barnes appears to be poised to do the bulk of the catching for the Dodgers in 2019.
As a result of the Brewers signing Grandal, the Dodgers will receive an extra draft pick at the end of Competitive Balance Round B. Right now, Los Angeles also owns the 25th overall pick (first round), the 64th overall pick (second round), plus a 31st overall comp pick as a result of 2018 first-rounder J.T. Ginn going unsigned.