One of the Dodgers remaining needs for the off-season is finding a starting catcher or at least a catcher to pair with Austin Barnes. Their options shrunk by one as Grandal signed with the Brewers Wednesday night.
The Dodgers don’t have much remaining on their off-season to do list but one of their remaining tasks is to find a second catcher. The Dodgers will likely likely split playing time between Austin Barnes and whomever they bring in as a second catcher unless they acquire a top tier catcher like J.T. Realmuto.
On Wednesday night, the Dodgers lost one option and likely the best remaining option in Yasmani Grandal as he signed with the Brewers for one year and 18.25 million dollars. That just beats out the qualifying offer that would have paid Grandal about 17.9 million dollars to come back to the Dodgers for one season. For the Dodgers one piece of good news is they will get a compensation draft pick just after the second round.
Grandal spent four years with the Dodgers joining the team in 2015 and he has been one of the best catchers in baseball since he arrived in Los Angeles. While bashing about twenty home runs a season, Yasmani was also one of the best defensive catchers in baseball and one of the best pitch framers in baseball. Pitch framing is something the Dodgers value highly and luckily for them, Barnes is a pretty good pitch framer himself.
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The one thing that the Dodgers will not miss with Grandal leaving is his tendency to disappear in the postseason and side in the second half of the season. Throughout four postseasons with the Dodgers, Yasmani hit just .107 with two home runs total in the four postseasons. In 2018, he became a liability on defense in the second half of the season and was so bad during the Dodgers’ World Series run that he was benched in favor of Austin Barnes.
The best free agent catcher remaining for the Dodgers now might be Martin Maldonado who will not hit for average but he does average fourteen home runs a season. Maldonado also has a cannon for an arm and is one of the best at preventing base runners from stealing behind only Yadier Molina.
If LA decides to pursue the trade route then J.T. Realmuto and Francisco Cervelli are the two best catchers on the trade block. Realmuto is less likely because of the Marlins’ high asking price which has been Cody Bellinger while Cervelli should be easier to get since he is owed 11.5 million that the Pirates would love to get off their payroll. Whatever route the Dodgers take, we should find out soon with pitchers and catchers reporting in just over a month.