In a surprising turn of events, the Milwaukee Brewers signed free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one year contract late Wednesday night.
While many Milwaukee Brewers fans believed that injecting offense at the catcher position was a need this offseason, few expected much to be done. There wasn’t much depth at the position in free agency and the only worthwhile trade target was JT Realmuto, whom the Marlins had a sky high asking price on.
Instead, David Stearns gets the prize of free agency at the backstop position, Yasmani Grandal.
What Does Grandal’s Contract Look Like?
The $18.25 million that Grandal signed for is slightly above what his qualifying offer from the Dodgers was. That is quite the surprise. Grandal had much larger offers and was looking for a long term deal. However, he signs a short-term pact with the Brewers instead.
Grandal did receive the qualifying offer, so the Brewers will forfeit their third highest draft pick in the 2019 Draft. They also sent their Competitive Balance pick to the Rangers for lefty reliever Alex Claudio.
Why Sign Grandal?
Grandal is one of the better offensive catchers in the game right now. Last season, Grandal hit 24 home runs with a .815 OPS. He doesn’t hit for a very high batting average as shown by his career .240 line.
He also doesn’t bring much defensively as we saw in the NLCS this year. Grandal struggled behind the plate and for his career is slightly below average at catching base stealers. But he is a strong pitch framer, which will boost this pitching staff even further.
He was the top remaining catcher on the market, and now the Milwaukee Brewers have added even more power to their already powerful lineup. Manny Pina will be a great backup catcher and should split time with Grandal. But with how much Grandal is making, he’ll earn the lion’s share of time over the more defensive minded Pina.
What Does This Signing Mean?
The Milwaukee Brewers do not believe in Jacob Nottingham. If they believed in his future, they would not have brought in Grandal. Although it’s only a one year deal, and it doesn’t block anyone long term, it says a lot about what they think of Nottingham.
Grandal will strengthen the bottom of the Brewers lineup. Coming to hitter friendly Miller Park should help boost his numbers a little bit and, being a switch hitter, the right field porch should help him out. Most of Grandal’s power comes when he’s hitting left handed.
The Milwaukee Brewers are not playing around. They are going to defend their NL Central title and are pushing to get further than last year.