As the 2018 Winter Meetings come to a close, MLB fans and executives alike still find themselves waiting for the first major domino to fall. The relief market began taking shape on Thursday, with the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly agreeing to terms with free agent Joe Kelly.
One positional group that has remained stagnant to this point is catcher. The biggest fish, Miami Marlins All-Star J.T. Realmuto, is mired in a holding pattern. Over a half-dozen teams have expressed interest in acquiring the 27-year-old, but a trade has yet to come close to fruition.
Such has had an effect on the free agent market for backstops. Former Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has yet to sign and figures to be a fallback option for clubs that miss out on Realmuto.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Chicago White Sox are considering a pursuit of Grandal:
The White Sox pushing to take a step forward in 2019. Nova improves the rotation, and they're looking at Yasmani Grandal as a possible catching upgrade.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 11, 2018
Meanwhile, the New York Mets are prepared to pivot their efforts to signing the switch-hitting catcher in the event they can’t hammer out a trade with the Marlins, per Andy Martino of SNY,
Reported yesterday and continuing to hear that Yasmani Grandal is a strong possibility for Mets if they don’t get Realmuto
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 11, 2018
While Grandal’s market has yet to fully develop, a handful of teams have already expressed interest in signing him. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are among those to reach out, via Maria Torres of the L.A. Times:
As for catchers, the Angels have engaged with free agents Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal.
Grandal, 30, is coming off a career year with the Dodgers in which he hit .241/.349/.466 over 518 plate appearances (140 games). One of the league’s most powerful catchers, Grandal tallied 23 doubles, 24 home runs and 68 RBI.
Despite Grandal’s shortcomings in the postseason, many around the sport expect him to land a lucrative contract this offseason.
A reunion with the Dodgers has been all but ruled out, given the organization’s desire to find a short-term backstop to help bridge the gap to top prospects Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith.