Not long after the Dodgers were eliminated from the 2019 postseason, one of the most popular topics of discussion was the team’s immediate plans at catcher, specifically which player would backup Will Smith.
As the 2020 roster conjecture is just beginning to heat up, one of the early conversations stirring surrounds how the Dodgers might handle the future duties at catcher.
Seemingly, there’s at least a little bit of controversy at the catcher spot for the Dodgers with each passing winter.
Once highly touted for his offensive prowess and his ability to field multiple positions, Austin Barnes gave the impression that he was in the big leagues to stay after a quality 2017 season campaign when he saw playing time in 102 games.
A sickness has been sweeping the Dodgers clubhouse, causing as many as 25 players to be sent home from Camelback Ranch the last few days. Thursday’s scheduled starting pitcher Ross Stripling was scratched due to the as-of-now mysterious illness. Manny Banuelos instead gets the start, a pitcher this writer has never heard of.
Chase Utley is enjoying quite an offseason.
He’s hanging out at Disneyland, having a day with the singer from OneRepublic and their families. He’s in Dubai, talking about robot umpires. He’s on social media, celebrating the Hall of Fame induction of his buddy, Jim Thome. He’s out golfing at Justin Turner’s charity golf tournament (and outgolfing Turner, according to the host). He’s going viral, making Eagles hype videos with the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
From the moment that Austin Barnes overtook the primary catcher’s spot from Yasmani Grandal late last summer, speculation immediately began to swirl about how the club would handle Grandal moving forward, and many believed that a trade sometime during the winter months was imminent. However, with about a full month left before pitchers and catchers begin filing into the Camelback clubhouse, the rumors have quieted significantly, as it appears the Dodgers will stick with the duo, at least for the beginning of the regular season.
The Yasmani Grandal trade rumors began as far back as the beginning of the 2017 playoffs, when the management crew of the Dodgers started to make clear that Austin Barnes was the preferred catcher of choice for the postseason, and perhaps the chief catcher moving forward. Now that Grandal is ready to embark on his walk-year, everyone around baseball is anticipating that Los Angeles will deal the 29-year-old switch-hitter before the deadlines this summer.
While there aren’t an overwhelming number of trade rumors surrounding the Dodgers as this winter’s hot stove approaches, there has been a bit of conjecture regarding catcher Yasmani Grandal and whether or not he’ll last the entire season in Los Angeles.
The baseball postseason sure is a funny thing. While the long layoff time between series could be an issue for the Dodgers in the end, I’m glad that they’ve avoided any of the drama that has been going on then the other divisional series so far.