Since the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Yasmani Grandal before the 2015 season, he has developed into not only one of the best offensive catchers, but also one of the best pitch framers.
He has been great in the regular season but struggled in the postseason every year with the club, and that was again the case in 2018 as he made a number of defensive mistakes and did not have any success at the plate.
Grandal is now a free agent after rejecting the Dodgers’ qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason, putting him on the open market (albeit with draft compensation attached to him).
Given how poorly catchers across the board played in 2018, Grandal is already believed to be drawing plenty of interest in free agency. Because of that, the Dodgers do not envision bringing the 30-year-old back next year, via Jon Morosi of MLB.com:
One source said the Dodgers are proceeding with their offseason catching plans as if they do not expect free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to return.
With two of the Dodgers’ top prospects, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz, both being catchers, it wouldn’t make much sense to give out a long-term deal to Grandal, or another backstop. Neither are expected to be Major League ready in 2019 though, so the Dodgers will need to find a one or two-year bridge at the position.
One solution that the Dodgers are reportedly looking into is Miami Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, although that would require a trade.
Realmuto is under club control for two more years, but the Marlins’ asking price may be a bit high as reports indicate they would want Cody Bellinger and either Yasiel Puig or Alex Verdugo in return.
One positive of Grandal rejecting the Dodgers’ qualifying offer is that now if he signs elsewhere, Los Angeles will receive compensation in the form of a draft pick in return. The Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and New York Mets are among the teams that could look to sign him.