Yasmani Grandal has been among the best catchers in the majors during his three-year tenure with the Dodgers, but it’s possible he’ll don a different uniform next season. After the Dodgers lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Astros on Wednesday, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported that the National League champions “may field offers for” Grandal this winter.
While the Dodgers will again be on the shortlist of legitimate championship contenders entering 2018, Grandal’s age-29 season, there’s some logic to the team parting with him before then. He was barely a factor in this year’s playoffs, for one, thanks to the emergence of Austin Barnes as manager Dave Roberts’ preferred option at catcher. The 27-year-old Barnes somewhat quietly turned in an outstanding regular season in his first extensive big league action, though he accrued 220 fewer plate appearances than Grandal along the way (262 to 482). But Barnes logged nearly all of the action at backstop in the postseason, racking up 52 PAs to Grandal’s 11.
Given Barnes’ excellent 2017 production and long-term team control (he’s not even scheduled to reach arbitration until 2020), the Dodgers may regard him as their behind-the-plate solution for the foreseeable future. Grandal, on the other hand, only has a year of control left, in which he’ll earn a projected $7.7MM in arbitration. That shouldn’t be an unpalatable sum for the big-spending Dodgers if they expect Grandal to continue seeing significant playing time next season. If he really has fallen out of favor, though, a trade could be in the offing.
In marketing Grandal, the Dodgers would be shopping a player who, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric, has never been worse than an average major league hitter in any of his six seasons of action. The switch-hitting Grandal is coming off a year in which he registered a 102 wRC+, which was both above average for position players and especially for catchers, who posted a mean of 89. As effective as Grandal has been at the plate, there’s a case to be made that he has been even better behind it. Since debuting with the Padres in 2012, Grandal has been an elite pitch framer in each season, per both Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner. Grandal also just wrapped up a third straight campaign in which he threw out more would-be base stealers (32 percent) than the typical catcher (27 percent).
It’s clear that 2017 was a solid all-around year for Grandal, though it did see him experience a notable offensive dropoff compared to the previous season. Grandal performed at a personal-best level across 457 PAs in 2016, swatting 27 home runs and hitting .228/.339/.477 – good for a 121 wRC+. He fell to .247/.308/.459 with 22 HRs in 482 trips to the plate this past season, though, thanks in part to career-worst walk (8.3 percent), strikeout (27 percent), chase (31.6 percent) and swinging-strike (11.9 percent) rates. The walk and chase rates were particularly alarming, given the vastly superior numbers he recorded in those departments a year ago (14 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively). And when Grandal did put the bat on the ball in 2017, it made far less impact than in 2016. According to Statcast (via Baseball Savant), Grandal’s average exit velocity tumbled from 91 mph to 87.9 mph, while his barrels per PA plummeted from 7.4 percent to 4.8 percent. As a result, his expected weighted on-base average cratered, going from to .363 to .288.
Any team interested in acquiring Grandal would be aware of the fact that he wasn’t at his best in 2017, yet they still may regard him as a more appealing option than the top impending free agent catchers – Jonathan Lucroy, Welington Castillo (if he opts out of his contract with the Orioles) and Alex Avila – all of whom come with obvious flaws. At the same time, there appears to be a limited number of viable fits for Grandal. Non-contenders aren’t in position to surrender much for a player who will be a free agent in a year, which could leave playoff hopefuls like the Nationals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Angels and Orioles (unless they’re ready to hand the reins to prospect Chance Sisco) among the most logical potential suitors. But it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers helping the Nats, a fellow NL power, improve their dire situation behind the plate, and the same applies to the division-rival D-backs and Rockies. As American League teams, the Angels and Orioles seem like more realistic possibilities, but their thin farm systems could stand in the way if the Dodgers were to seek youth in return for Grandal.
Should the Dodgers shop Grandal and fail to find an offer to their liking, retaining him wouldn’t exactly be a negative outcome. On paper, he and Barnes would continue to give the Dodgers an enviable backstop tandem in 2018, regardless of which of the two plays more, thereby increasing the team’s odds of winning a sixth straight NL West title.
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Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
This probably sounds obvious but in the right deal i think he is gone easy. The asking price will be very high.
Yup I would think the Dodgers would want a cost controlled SP in any trade along with a middle infielder who is in the high minors
Ain’t worth that much
They didn’t give up much either to get him
Kemp and fed ex and only had to pay 3 mil a year which is what they’re still paying in Atlanta.
A catcher for a one year deal who cannot hit his weight?
You won’t get all that. Maybe 1 player with controller
He’s hit above average for catchers every year, he just wasn’t as good in 2017. He’s valuable to any team, the Dodgers just have an embarrassment of riches behind the plate with him, Barnes, Farmer and 2-3 solid options coming up on the farm.
The Padres only had to pay $3M a year? The Padres took on $75M of Kemp’s contract. In terms of offense and defense Grandal was far more valuable to SD than Kemp was. The Padres then turned around and flipped Kemp for a player who is no longer in MLB. They took on $75M, lost Grandal, and ended up with a 1/2 season of Kemp and a player no longer in MLB
I didn’t say that
I said the doyuers which still are paying = 3 mil a year
Padres took on the other 18 mil
Now, the padres are paying nothing for kemp. The braves are paying 18 mil a year.
Instead, they’re lying olivera’s contract
Paying * oliveria
And I rather have hedges than grandal
It doesn’t seem like it’s Dodgers’ MO to trade valuable players just because they can afford to. They like depth (e.g. Ethier, Pederson, all their surplus starting pitchers, etc.) and are willing to pay money to hoard them, unless they can get a lot of value in return. Grandal may be too valuable for a part time role, but he will be a Dodger for a while yet.
Barnes now the starting catcher and Grandal’s only other position is first base (well below average there) — forecast to receive almost $8M in arbitration and will be FA after 2018. The time is now to trade him.
Actually that would be the exact MO of this FO. If they have the opportunity to churn and address other needs I think they’d more than happily do it.
Valuable? He was useless I t eh postseason. Barnes and Farmer have flat out replaced his roster spot. He needs to be gone.
*in the postseason
Ethier was an untradeable player with his contract, bad example as far as depth
You can turn the #’s anyway you want, but saying he had a good 2017 season is a joke. He wasn’t even playing in the playoffs because his fingers are stupid, the pitchers didn’t want to throw to him, & pitch framing is overrated. 2nd rate receiver!
If you think grandal is 2nd a string catcher you dont know baseball. Any team that doesn’t get defent C production should be all over him
That’s why he sat on the bench down the stretch, because he is so valuable!
Grandal is a starting catcher on at least 60-70% of the teams in baseball. He’s not a top catcher but he’s without a doubt starter caliber. It’s not a bad idea to have two mlb caliber catchers on your roster anyway. As long as grandal isn’t a headache in the locker room idk how you’re going to find a guy more valuable to keep around. Maybe you flip him for a set up man with one year left on his deal as well. That’s really the only scenario i see being more beneficial than keeping him around. What good is a prospect on a team that wants to win the WS next year.
Grandal has never performed even marginally well in the postseason. His career postseason BA is .087. This year he went 0-8.
His fingers are stupid? You really don’t think he was calling pitches do you? I respect roberts choice to go with Barnes. My problem was that the last few games Barnes was dragging. He couldn’t even pull anymore he was so tired yet grandal never saw the field
For the right price yes the Dodgers would probably want a cost controllable SP with some options left and a young middle infielder
He has one year of control left. You’re not getting a middle infielder and a cost controlled starting pitcher for a catcher with one year left on his contract. Especially with guys like Lucroy and Castillo being FA’s this year.
Wake up. No way the Angels want him when they have Maldonado.
Yeah if the Angels get mentioned why don’t the Red Sox ever get mentioned as a teach that could use a catcher. Not like they have an all star pencilled on for the next few years.
the lack of real need across the league along with Lucroy on the market argues he stays. Catchers get hurt all the time, it pays to have a good backup, and although the price is high for a backup it feels about right for 1 year insurance policy on Barnes and a good backup, I think barring an overpay trade they keep him.
I’d keep him for depth.
Yeah, I would, too. No idea why they would trade Grandal so they can slot in someone who hasn’t yet proven himself as a regular.
Yeah, who knows if Barnes can produce all year? Plus Grandal and Barnes form a pretty good platoon. I not a big fan of Grandals personality (saying Dodger fans know nothing about baseball), and I also feel like he tries so hard to frame pitches that he lets a lot of pitches pass by, but he’s better than average, and having two above average backstops sounds good to me.
Dodgers have a lot of options given Barnes’s performance at C, his ability to play 2B, and the possibility of either keeping Taylor in CF and trading Pederson, moving Taylor to 2B with Pederson or even Verdugo in CF, or acquiring someone else to play 2B.
Will be interesting to see if Grandal may be the outbound player that helps LA acquire a controllable arm or 2B.
I would love to see how Joc hits next year. If he hits like he did in the WS I say you move Taylor to 2B, play Joc in CF and if Verdugo plays well platoon him in LF with Kike or Trayce. If verdugo doesn’t go well then I’d like to see them go after Martinez or Cain.
I wouldn’t mind seeing them trade Forsythe tbh. However I still feel grandal will be big for the dodgers even if he is a backup so I feel they should hold onto him.
Perhaps the Dodgers can sell the Phillies on a trade of Grandal for Cesar Hernandez? The Dodgers could throw in a minor leaguer or two they don’t want to balance out the difference in control.
Oh, you don’t think that makes any sense for the Phillies? I would agree, but nothing the MacPhail/Klentak F.O. has done has made any sense. It’s a dumpster fire burning out of control in Philly so why not throw more fuel on the fire and claim it’s just another “bold move”?
If Grandal has 2 or 3 years left this would actually make sense, as I think that’s when Philly wants to start competing since they can throw big money at FA’s next year.
McPhail/ Klentak biding time. They haven’t spent any money yet on bad contracts like the previous regimes. I’d like to have a veteran catcher to pair with Alfaro,but not at 7 million for only one year and giving up CH to boot.
I don’t know if they’d do that, with Alfaro coming up.
The Phillies have 3 MLB ready catchers already
While I think the Dodgers would love to trade him, I can’t really see a fit with those teams listed and not sure some other teams that could use him (Twins, Pirates, As, Tigers as examples) have either the trade pieces or the payroll budget for 1 year of control on Grandal.
Are the jays not a factor in this? They need a good backup that will probably do 40% of the workload considering martins legs are almost done
Bring in a Dodgers catcher to backup a former Dodgers catcher? Sure why not.
What does being an ex dodger have to do with it? Jays need a good back up catcher, he fills the role, and the dodgers don’t really need him.
I don’t think the dodgers will hesitate to trade with anyone. If the Nats make the best offer that’s where he’s going. And it’s in DC I believe he will end up.
If I’m the Dodgers, I ask the Nats for some prospect that the Marlins want…..then flip whoever they can for Stanton.
just about anything is better than Wieters
It’s a stupid question. All trades depend on the return. Trading him depends on what they can get back.
So the question really is will the dodgers be offered enough to trade away grandal. Not a stupid question at all really.
Would the O’s trade Britton and Brach for Grandal and Avilan?
No, Orioles would need more..see starting pitching ,or solid prospective 3rd baseman who needs a year seasoning.
lol I wish as a Dodgers fan, but no.
Lol why would the angels want him? Maybe do some research
Because their catchers arent good
Maldonado is good. Defense is top priority and he is one of the best in the AL
Should they? Yes. Will they? No.
Mets should definitely go after him, trade darnaud or plawecki and maybe a pitcher harvey, for him and a minor leaguer
Call me crazy but I see the Dodgers trying to bank on Pedersons post season play, on Puigs turn around and Grandals potential. This front off isn’t afraid to trade anyone on this roster besides the obvious players. Look how they traded Gordon when he hit his ceiling, I look for them to do the same with Puig and I think they’ll try to do the same with how Pederson crushed the balk I the World Series. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope they hang on to Puig but we will see. I think they are going to go after pitching though.
Overlooked in the article is a big piece of the puzzle, Kyle Farmer. The Dodgers obviously like him a lot for his bat and versatility, and probably want to see more of him. Also not mentioned are Grandal’s frequent bouts of hammer hands, which is the other big reason he saw so much less use this year. He goes.
Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith both emerging as long term option in the minors dont help yaz
Both of them are more than a year off. Farmer they can use as the backup catcher next year.
Yes, Farmer could be a versatile 3rd C if Grandal stays and LA uses Barnes part-time at C and at 2B.
if the Nats didn’t have Wieters i could see him going there.
We can take Robles for Grandal
I think the Dodgers keep Grandal. This gives them a RH (Barnes) and LH (Yaz) hitting catching duo. I think they’re at their best platooning these two….maybe they move him at the July deadline. Farmer and Will Smith are close to being ML ready….but Farmer still needs a little more tutelage behind the dish from Yeager. He should be good by the deadline to back up Barnes.
Since there are probably a lot of dodger fans on this can you tell me who is in their projected rotation? I keep hearing they want another starter but i feel like kershaw, hill, maeda is a great 1-3. then probably 1 out of ryu/wood/mcarthy and another 1 out of urias/buehller has them set. Outside looking in, i feel maeda is extremely under-rated. Id love him on the cardinals.
I think the Dodgers will trade grandal either this offseason or he’ll be traded at the trade deadline.
The cost to keep him even as a back-up or off day catcher is a drop in the bucket for the Dodgers. He’s shown he can be hot at any given moment. If they’re willing to spend over $100 million on guys not on the team or or the disabled list, what’s there to lose keeping him? If they can bait some team to give up another minimum wage potential star like Bellinger, Taylor, Pederson, Seager, Barnes, or Kiké for him, could be a win win.
grandal is a good pitch framer yes, but he is a poor defensive catcher. pitching staff didn’t trust him in SD or LA and neither did the managers. pitchers are afraid of putting balls in the dirt with him back there.
Package Grandal to an AL team where he could also DH along with Galvan and/or Baez for a pitcher to replace what they’re losing in the bullpen to Free Agency
I think the Braves or Rangers could be a target, they’re trying to get back to being competitive, and they’re catching situation is poor. Same as the Brewers.
Braves already picked up Tyler Flowers option and resigned Kurt Suzuki to a one year deal. Grandal not going to the Braves. And that tandem produced better than most clubs.