The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of many teams in search of a starting catcher this winter, as Yasmani Grandal rejected their qualifying offer and elected for free agency.
The top option available is Miami Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto, although he would require a heavy trade package as the Marlins are reportedly demanding Cody Bellinger from the Dodgers, which they are unsurprisingly reluctant to do.
If the Dodgers decide to go the free agent route, then there are plenty of other options including Wilson Ramos, Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Wieters, Martin Maldonado and others. Bringing Grandal back is also a possibility, although he is likely seeking a long-term deal and the Dodgers may be more interested in a short-term solution with prospects Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz near Major-League ready.
Given the Dodgers’ depth they have to deal from, a trade may make more sense, and Francisco Cervelli of the Pittsburgh Pirates is a solid backup option if they don’t land Realmuto. According to John Perrotto of DK Pittsburgh, the two teams are currently involved in discussions:
— John Perrotto (@JPerrotto) December 13, 2018
The 32-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, batting .257/.378/.431 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI in 104 games. Cervelli is owed around $10 million in 2019, the final year of his three-year contract before he hits free agency next winter.
As far as the return to Pittsburgh goes, one name to keep an eye on is Ross Stripling. The right-handed pitcher was an All-Star in 2018 but dealt with some back issues in the second half of the season that led to him not being not as effective on the mound.
Given the Dodgers’ starting rotation depth, they can afford to part with someone like Stripling to sure up the catcher position.