The Milwaukee Brewers finally solved the catcher position in 2019 with the signing of Yasmani Grandal. The only problem is that he might leave, and they’ll have to solve catcher again in 2020. What should the off-season plan be for catcher?
The Milwaukee Brewers will have three catchers under team control heading into the upcoming off season. The problem is that neither of them is Yasmani Grandal.
Manny Pina won’t become a free agent until 2022, unless he gets DFA’ed. Jacob Nottingham has played 18 games in the Majors in the last two years, and is still on the 40-man roster. David Freitas is also under team control, and could stick around to fight for backup role.
What should the Milwaukee Brewers do to solve catcher in 2020?
Should the bring back Grandal?
Yes. The Milwaukee Brewers absolutely should bring back Grandal for 2020 and beyond.
Grandal will be only 31 years old at Opening Day 2020. He posted a 5.2 WAR and managed a .246/.380/.468 slash line in 153 games in 2019. He was an absolute bargain on a one-year deal worth $18.25 million for the Brewers. He moved well behind the plate, framed well all year, and was a positive contributor on offense.
Grandal’s contract came with a mutual option for 2020 that has a 0% chance of getting picked up. The Brewers would love to have Grandal back on another one-year deal, but Grandal is going to want a multi-year deal and he should decline the option to take another chance at free agency.
Whether Grandal comes back to the Brewers really depends on how high he wants to go. The Milwaukee Brewers will have to offer a three-year deal, or longer, with an annual average value over the $18 million that Grandal earned in 2019. If the Brewers are willing to commit to a three- or four-year deal in the $23 million-to-$25 million per year range, Grandal will be back. If they don’t, they’ll have to solve catcher all over again.
Are there any other names available in free agency?
There are other names, but none are at Grandal’s level. The list of free agent catchers for the upcoming off season reads like a list of…the same guys who are available seemingly every year. Matt Weiters, Jonathan Lucroy, and Alex Avila are all available again. Names such as Tyler Flowers, Welington Castillo, and Yan Gomes could also be available depending on the moves their teams make.
However, Grandal is clearly the best option on the market.
Is there an option in the Minors?
Mario Feliciano and Payton Henry are showing improvement, but both are at least two years away from contributing to the Major League roster. At the moment, there isn’t any immediate help coming from the Minors at the catcher position.
If Grandal signs elsewhere, the catcher position for the Milwaukee Brewers goes from a strength to a weakness overnight. The team needs to bring Grandal back, but they can’t allow his deal to tie up too much money in the long term. The good news is that the team only has $89 million committed to 2020 right now, including all options. If the team chooses to cut Chase Anderson loose, that saves $8.5 million, and could allow for Grandal to fit in the budge for 2020 and beyond.