Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal Deserves Consistent Playing Time
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Since Russell Martin left in 2010, the Los Angeles Dodgers have rotated players at the catcher position, with the list mainly including below-average Major-Leaguers: Rod Barajas, Drew Butera, Tim Federowicz, Hector Gimenez, Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Olivo and Matt Treanor.

Thankfully, the organization now boasts a trio comprised of Austin Barnes, A.J. Ellis and Yasmani Grandal. Heading into Spring Training, the Dodgers’ depth at catcher was as strong as it has ever been — with two starting-caliber players, plus a prospect many believe would be a starter for most clubs.

That was all thrown into confusion, however, when the presumed starter (Grandal) was hampered by injuries to begin the season.

While out, Barnes and Ellis split time behind the plate — neither with much success, but now, with Grandal back, I’m beginning to wonder: why isn’t he playing more?

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of Grandal since he was acquired in the trade that sent Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres. Heading into the All-Star break last season, Grandal was the best catcher in baseball by just about any offensive metric you could find (.987 on-base plus slugging percentage, 14 home runs) — including defense.

Battling a shoulder injury in the second half of 2015, however, Grandal struggled mightily and was pretty terrible down the stretch — opening the door again for an apparent time-split.

Now, 38 games into 2016, it’s becoming clear (once again) that Grandal should absolutely be the everyday catcher — especially for a team that ranks in the bottom third of the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging.

In 25 games so far (20 as the starter), Grandal is batting .224/.318/.421. Ellis, on the other hand, is hitting .204/.283/.296. Since coming off the disabled list and making his debut in the eighth game of the season, Grandal has started 19 games at catcher.

That’s compared to eight starts for Ellis over the same stretch. Obviously, a catcher can’t play every game (Martin perhaps being the exception), and it’s plausible the Dodgers are attempting to slowly work Grandal back slowly from injury.

Manager Dave Roberts did imply Grandal is to receive plenty of starts in the upcoming week. No matter, at some point it needs to be admitted the Dodgers’ struggling offense needs all the help it can get.

When healthy, Grandal is one of the best catchers in the league — and one of the best hitters the Dodgers have to offer. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Right?