The loss of Yasmani Grandal left a hole in the Milwaukee Brewers roster, however there is an option out there they could partner with Manny Pina.
When Yasmani Grandal signed a one-year deal in Milwaukee in January of 2019, he was betting on himself with the goal of getting a long-term deal. He received the multi-year deal he was looking for earlier this week from the Chicago White Sox. The Brewers now need to look to fill both his offensive production and support to the young pitching staff.
Who are the top options?
The catching market isn’t particularly strong this off season, Grandal was really in a class of his own. The 31 year old had a WAR at 5.2, the next closest is Robinson Chirinos, who is 36 years old, and is coming off a 2.3 WAR season after his first year in Houston.
Many fans are pointing at Travis d’Arnaud, 31 year old, who owned a 1.6 WAR last year. d’Arnaud had a .251 average with and OPS of .745 in 351 at-bats last season and has never been any higher that a .268 hitter with average power to this point in his career.
Do these options make the most sense for the roster?
Both options as good as they sound will cost the Brewers somewhere between $2-$4 million dollars and are not a significant upgrade over current right-handed hitting catcher Manny Pina.
However both Robinson and d’Arnuad are not what the Brewers need. Pina, a career .271/.339/.399/.738 hitter against left handed pitching has similar lines against lefties. d’Arnuad is a career .258/.325/.456/.781 and Chirinos is a .261/.370/.438/.853 hitter.
All three are very similar against righties as well, and Pina could actually be the most consistent of the three.
Pina – .248/.307/.411/.718
d’Arnuad – .242/.300/.496/.696
Chirinos – .224/.313/.422/.735
So why bring in a player to platoon with Pina who isn’t much different?
The Brewers could look to get catching value with an old friend, Stephen Vogt.
Vogt who was part of the Brewers 2017 run and was on the bench recovering from surgery in 2018 could be the ideal platoon mate for Pina during the 2020 season.
The left handed hitting Vogt is a career .261/.321/.443/.763 hitter against right handed pitchers, and was right on pair with his career average in 2019 with the San Francisco Giants, hitting .271/.330/.505/.835 in 210 at bats.
Vogt is also familiar with the current pitching staff, having worked with most of the during the past two seasons. He brings a veteran presence to the position, similar to the one that Erik Kratz brought during the 2018 playoff run.
Pairing him with Pina also makes sense from a left handed, right handed platoon approach as combined the two could be a .270 platoon with the ability to hit 20 home runs while providing strong defense.
Take into consideration the 2019 season for all the catchers mentioned:
Vogt – 455 innings, one error, four passed balls, .998 fielding percentage and 17% caught stealing percentage.
Pina – 353 2/3 innings, six errors, two passed balls, .984 fielding percentage and 25% caught stealing percentage.
d’Arnuad – 578 2/3 innings, two errors, six passed balls, .997 field percentage, 28% caught stealing percentage.
Chirinos – 966 innings, six errors, four passed balls, .995 fielding percentage, 21 % caught stealing percentage.
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No one person stands out, minus the fact that at 36 years old Chirinos played the most innings at catcher.
Vogt’s value is in his left handed bat and his familiarization with the team. He can bring value at possibility the lowest price too, leaving money to re-sign or bring in new players.