For the second straight offseason, Yasmani Grandal is scheduled to reach free agency as the undisputed No. 1 catcher available. Grandal got to the open market last winter after a strong multiyear run with the Dodgers, but he’ll return there this offseason on the heels of a quality campaign with the Brewers, who look likely to lose him.
The fact that Grandal even ended up in Milwaukee in the first place came as a surprise. Expectations were he’d emerge from his previous trip to free agency with a long-term, high-paying contract, but that didn’t materialize. There was at least one opportunity for Grandal to score that type of pact, as he reportedly turned down a four-year, $60MM offer from the Mets weeks before settling for far less.
The small-market Brewers capitalized on Grandal’s decision to reject New York, not to mention a lack of offers he deemed suitable from other clubs, by reeling him in on a one-year, $18.25MM guaranteee in January. The switch-hitting Grandal paid the Brew Crew back with a .246/.380/.468 batting line, a career-high 28 home runs and 5.2 fWAR in 632 plate appearances during another playoff-bound season for the team. Grandal performed well behind the plate at the same time, thus continuing a long run as one of the most well-rounded backstops in baseball.
The Brewers could technically control Grandal for another season, as the two sides have a $16MM mutual option (or a $2.25MM buyout) for 2020. Exercising it should be a no-brainer for Milwaukee, but rejecting it ought to be an easy call for Grandal. He has now put up five straight elite seasons, after all, and no longer has to worry about a qualifying offer weighing him down. The Dodgers hit Grandal with a QO a year ago, and because a player can’t receive it more than once, he’s in line for an unfettered free-agent run this time around. Not only that, but the 31-year-old Grandal won’t face much competition on the open market. It’s obvious the next best unsigned catchers – Jason Castro, Travis d’Arnaud and Robinson Chirinos – aren’t in his stratosphere.
Adding everything up, Grandal may be in ideal position this offseason to secure the type of payday he desired last year. Do you expect the two-time All-Star to outdo the $60MM he reportedly turned down back then?
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