According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal has agreed to a one year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, taking one of the top free-agent catchers off the board.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal has agreed to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, league sources tell ESPN. @Ken_Rosenthal had the news first.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2019
Grandal represented an apparently more affordable (at least in terms of prospects or MLB pieces) option to Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, posting similar offensive production in 2018:
Yasmani Grandal Signs with Brewers
From 2016 – 2018, Grandal’s offensive production rates among the leaders at the position, including in the top five for 73 home runs (2nd), .228 ISO (4th), runs (4th), and RBI (5th). His 2018 performance was in line with previous seasons and backed up by the excellent quality of contact reviews as well (.233 XBA/.352 WOBA/.457 XSLG).
Measuring the quality of catcher defense is difficult, but Grandal has typically posted average to above-average ratings in most relevant metrics (9 DRS in 2018, 0 rSB in 2018), though he has struggled with passed balls during the regular season and in the playoffs (25 in 2017-2018). While his defensive issues in the NLCS might seem worrisome, he has typically played well behind the plate and supported good outings by his staff (3.37 ERA by Dodgers pitchers when caught by Grandal in 2018).
Grandal is a strong addition for the Brew Crew and offers consistent value to their team both offensively and defensively. His 3.3 bWAR in 2018 was second only to Realmuto at the position, and he has a history of staying healthy despite the demands of catching (fourth-most games player from 2016-2018). Overall, this is a great signing by the Brewers and makes them better going into 2019.
The draw to a potential blockbuster trade to acquire Realmuto was obvious, but the price was apparently too steep for the front office to manage. In Grandal, Milwaukee was able to hang onto their prospects and pieces while adding an impact player with a solid track record. He has played at least 115 games every year from 2014-18 and shows no signs of slowing down.
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