The Milwaukee Brewers signed free-agent and former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year deal worth $18.25 million. The deal is pending a physical.
Grandal kicked of his free agency by rejected the Dodgers’ $17.9 million qualifying offer in November. Because of Grandal’s decision, the Dodgers are fixed to receive a compensatory draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B. The Brewers will give up their third-highest selection in this year’s upcoming draft with the acquisition of the one-time All-Star.
Grandal hit .241/.349/.466 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI in 518 plate appearances in his 2019 campaign. Grandal’s free agency case was tainted by a horrendous playoff run in which he played awful defense and did very little behind the plate, hitting .139 through 34 trips to the plate. Grandal will man the Brewers’ catching position along with Manny Pena.
Grandal was only able to earn an extra $350,000 above the qualifying offer and will use the 2018 season as a year to prove his worth and hopefully get a longer and more lucrative deal next offseason. Grandal reportedly turned down a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets earlier this offseason as well. Grandal ranks third behind J.T. Realmuto and Buster Posey in Wins Above Replacement over the past three years according to Fangraphs, and it is interesting that the market for Grandal was not more robust.
This deal now leaves the Dodgers needing a catcher and with the coveted J.T. Realmuto still up for grabs from the Marlins, the Dodgers are certainly in on the young stud. The Dodgers had a great 2018 season in which they won their second consecutive National League Pennant and lost their second consecutive World Series (joining the 2010-2011 Texas Rangers as the only franchise to lose back to back fall classics).
The Brewers had a pretty tight budget entering the offseason and were not expected to make any moves were too drastic, but owner Mark Attanasio has made it clear that the Brew Crew would be willing to stretch the budget for the right player and the right deal.
“Mark is always willing to stretch if the situation or the talent warrants it, and frankly, this is a year that warrants it,” Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said Thursday. “I’ve talked to Mark, and I feel very confident that based on the success we’ve had and the ticket sales, that we can do great things in ’19 and build on what we did in ’18. I take it as a challenge from ownership that our job is to generate incremental revenue above what we did in ’18. As the one responsible for the revenue and how we get there, I’m very comfortable.”
The Brewers had a great year in 2018 and won the National League Central over the Chicago Cubs (granted, needing 163 games to do so) before falling to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The Brewers will hope for better success against the Dodgers next year after taking one of their pieces this offseason.
Overall, the Brewers will get a solid catcher both offensively and defensively while Grandal will get a cool $18.25 Million and another shot at a large deal next offseason.