Dodgers: The Dodgers Should Not Trade Yasmani Grandal

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Yasmani Grandal
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Yasmani Grandal /

The Dodgers will head into the 2018 season with arguably the best catching depth of any team in baseball.  The Dodgers could even open next season with three catchers on the active roster.

Despite the Dodgers’ impressive catching depth, the Dodgers should not trade Yasmani Grandal.  While the Dodgers may start next season with Grandal, Barnes, and Farmer on the active roster, they still don’t know what they have entirely in Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer.  Barnes took over the starting role late in the season and in the playoffs, but his performance was subpar as he started more games.

Kyle Farmer is versatile like Austin Barnes but only made twenty plate appearances this year.  That is too small of a sample size to determine if Farmer is worthy of a roster spot or not.  If the Dodgers were to trade Grandal, they would have Austin Barnes who appeared to wear down late in the season and Kyle Farmer who is still unproven.  Barnes claimed the starting role late in the season, but as he started playing more, he saw his performance diminish.  In September Barnes only hit .245 and in the post-season, he hit .217,

Yasmani Grandal is still one of the best catchers in baseball offensively and defensively.  Despite seeing his playing time decrease later in the season, Grandal finished the season with 22 home runs which ranked him fourth among all catchers in baseball.  His .790 OPS against right-handed pitching also demonstrates that he is a worthy asset against right-handed pitching.  Grandal did struggle against lefties, but the Dodgers could start Barnes against all southpaw starters which would help keep Grandal and Barnes fresh all season.

Defensively, Grandal is a very good pitch framer, and this helps the Dodger pitchers get more strikes called than the normal pitcher would.  Grandal is also a better defensive catcher than Austin Barnes.  Grandal had 5 DRS this year while Barnes had -2 DRS.  Yasmani also threw out 32% of potential base stealers while Barnes threw out 23% of projected base stealers.  Grandal has a rifle arm and just needs to work on some of his passed ball issues.  Outside of that, he is a better defensive catcher than Austin Barnes.

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Another area where Grandal is more productive than Austin Barnes is calling a game.  Grandal’s catcher ERA was 3.22 while the catcher ERA of Austin Barnes was 3.74.  That means the Dodger pitchers have an ERA a half run lower when Grandal starts.  While this could be because Grandal has been around longer and the pitchers are more comfortable with him catching, it is something that needs to be watched going forward.

Then there is the fact that the Dodgers have more incentive for keeping Grandal than trading him.  If Grandal is traded away, the Dodgers likely won’t get fair value since Grandal is entering a contract year.  By keeping Grandal, the Dodgers will most likely get type A free agent compensation should Grandal leave in free agency after next season.  The type A compensation is likely going to bring back better talent than trading Grandal would.

While the Dodgers may have a different idea for handling the catching situation, it is clear that they are better off hanging on to Yasmani Grandal.  Even if the Dodgers think Austin Barnes should be the every day starting catcher, it would still be a good idea to keep Grandal in case Barnes once again wears down.  Due to the rigors of the catching position there is also a chance that Barnes could get injured.  Having Grandal to fill in while Barnes is out would keep the Dodgers from losing production.

Next: Kenta Maeda's 2017 Season Grade

Yasmani Grandal is still one of the elite catchers in all of baseball.  While the Dodgers have an abundance of catching talent, Grandal is still the top dog on the Dodgers depth chart.  Trading Grandal would only hurt the Dodgers and wipe out the major league ready catching depth that they currently have.