I’m sure you’ve heard the breaking news by now. Free agent and former Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. According to reports the deal is for one-year and 18.25 million dollars. Grandal had turned down a multi-year offer from the New York Mets, and of course had declined a 17.9 million dollar offer from the Dodgers earlier in the winter in order to test the free agent market.
Perhaps Grandal’s market never developed but it’s kind of frustrating to see him sign with the Brewers for less than a million dollars more than the qualifying offer from the Dodgers. I know many of you disliked Grandal for his defensive issues behind the plate. However you can’t deny that he is the most powerful catcher in baseball who can also draw a lot of walks. He’s also been one of the best pitch-framers as well. It appears the Dodgers never had any interest in retaining him. I’m thinking his October meltdown this year may have soured them on him a bit. That might be a bit unfair but I can somewhat understand. It still makes me wonder why Friedman couldn’t have offered him a contract. They couldn’t have given him a 20 million dollar one-year deal?
Now that Grandal is gone, we can ask the question….What the hell do the Dodgers do now? Once again as predicted by me early on in the offseason, Andrew Friedman, small market and cheapskate expert has decided to not add any players this winter. The Dodgers have multiple holes on the roster that Friedman refuses to plug. The Dodgers still need a catcher, second baseman and right fielder.
Catcher will be the hardest position to fill. With little options left on the open market and Friedman being too cheap, and small market minded to trade for anyone good, we’re left with Austin Barnes as the starting catcher. Indeed I was correct, Austin Barnes will be the Dodgers starting catcher in 2019. Of course he’ll need someone to pair with his sub-Mendoza line batting skills. Perhaps the Dodgers will be ready to promote top prospect Keibert Ruiz to the major league level. Will Smith another young catching prospect is another possibility as well.
Either way rest assured that if the Dodgers do somehow acquire a catcher from outside the organization it will be a backstop who won’t hit above .190. If Ruiz is paired with Barnes then it’s doubtful Ruiz would get the brunt of the playing time. He’ll be platooned with Barnes, and whoever is the worst hitter will get the most playing time. My guess is that Barnes will bat around .215 most of the season and get a lot of playing time. Ruiz will impress in his major league debut and hit well, but will be stuck in a platoon with a catcher who can’t hit.
Or the Dodgers will acquire a past their prime aging veteran who won’t hit above the Mendoza line either. Maybe they sign a Nick Hundley type. Again as I mentioned earlier, anyone acquired from outside can’t hit above .215 at any time during the season. Hundley or Barnes will likely bat cleanup or lead-off multiple times throughout the season as well.
Of course I jest. This article was completely written tongue in cheek. But it’s hard to figure out where the Dodgers are going to go from here after losing Grandal and giving away two other solid regular position players. The Dodgers need a catcher and quickly.