The Mets found a veteran catcher in free agency earlier this month when they signed Wilson Ramos to a two-year, $19MM guarantee. However, the club had been willing to pay a much steeper price for the premier backstop on the open market, Yasmani Grandal, whom it offered a four-year, $60MM contract, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports. Grandal rejected the Mets’ proposal, leading them to sign Ramos for far less.
The Mets’ offer to Grandal was in the ballpark of the four-year, $64MM prediction MLBTR made for accomplished catcher entering the offseason. Of course, because Grandal declined the Dodgers’ one-year, $17.9MM qualifying offer after the season, the team that signs him will have to pay more than just money to secure his services. In the Mets’ case, adding Grandal would have meant surrendering their second-highest draft pick and $500K in international bonus pool space in 2019.
Aside from the Mets, the 30-year-old Grandal has also drawn reported interest from the Dodgers, Reds, Angels and White Sox this winter. Other than the White Sox, who traded Omar Narvaez and signed James McCann, those teams haven’t addressed the catcher position in any meaningful way since last season ended. As such, it stands to reason the Dodgers, Reds and Angels could still be among the teams in on Grandal. The Dodgers are “unlikely” to re-sign Grandal, though, unless he unexpectedly settles for a short-term contract, according to Castillo.
In the event the Dodgers do bring back Grandal, he’d give them another righty-capable batter, which is something the lefty-heavy club is reportedly seeking after trading away outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. Grandal is one of several such hitters who have been connected to the Dodgers this offseason, with Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos also among those in the mix. But the Dodgers have found the Tigers’ asking price to be prohibitive, per Castillo, who hears that Detroit initially requested either young outfielder Alex Verdugo or catcher prospect Keibert Ruiz from Los Angeles.
Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers balked at giving up either Verdugo or Ruiz for the defensively challenged Castellanos, who’s only under control for another year (at a projected $11.1MM). The 22-year-old Verdugo ranks as the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect and baseball’s 32nd-best farmhand at MLB.com, and could be a prominent member of their 2019 outfield or a major piece in an offseason trade revolving around someone more valuable than Castellanos. Ruiz, 20, is the Dodgers’ second-ranked prospect at MLB.com, which places him 39th overall. Along with fellow catcher prospect Will Smith, Ruiz could be part of the long-term solution for the club behind the plate.