The Pirates and catcher Yasmani Grandal are in settlement on a contract, per reporter Francys Romero. Robert Murray of FanSided reported earlier this night that the edges had been in “critical talks” concerning a deal. Per Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the deal ensures Grandal $2.5MM and contains incentives, with MLB.com’s Alex Stumpf noting the contract is a one-year deal.
Grandal, 35, was a first-round decide by the Reds 2010 draft and shortly rose to turn into a consensus top-50 prospect within the sport forward of his debut with the Padres again in 2012. Grandal hit a powerful .297/.394/.469 over 60 video games throughout his rookie marketing campaign in San Diego, although he missed a lot of the next season after being suspended for 50 video games as a result of violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug coverage. Upon being traded to the Dodgers forward of the 2015 season, Grandal established himself as one of many league’s premiere two-way catchers as he mixed above-average offense with robust defensive metrics.
Throughout a seven-year interval from 2015 to 2021, Grandal slashed a powerful .239/.357/.461 whereas taking part in for the Dodgers, Brewers, and White Sox. That slash line was good for a 122 wRC+ that was surpassed solely by Will Smith and Mitch Garver amongst catchers throughout that stretch. In the meantime, his +56 Defensive Runs Saved ranked fourth within the majors throughout that point, trailing solely Roberto Perez, Austin Hedges, and Buster Posey. Grandal mixed that two-way expertise with impeccable sturdiness, with solely J.T. Realmuto and Yadier Molina showing in additional video games behind the plate than Grandal over that seven-year interval. In that time-frame, Grandal appeared behind the plate in 693 video games, or greater than two thirds of his membership’s common season contests.
Unbelievable as Grandal was throughout his peak, the veteran started to say no quickly upon coming into his mid-thirties. Over his last two seasons in Chicago, Grandal slashed simply .219/.305/.306 with a well-below common wRC+ of 74. Whereas he maintained a stable 10.4% stroll charge in that point, his energy manufacturing cratered as he posted an ISO of simply .087, a determine that pales compared to the profession .211 determine he boasted coming into the 2022 marketing campaign. Father time has additionally been unkind to Grandal’s defensive expertise. Whereas Statcast’s Outs Above Common nonetheless grades him as a roughly common defender with plus framing metrics, his -16 DRS behind the plate is the fourth-worst determine within the majors over the previous two seasons, forward of solely Elias Diaz, MJ Melendez, and Keibert Ruiz.
Whereas Grandal’s decline over the previous two seasons has been a steep one, the veteran backstop may nonetheless show to be a priceless addition for a Pittsburgh staff in the hunt for a veteran presence behind the plate. The Pirates misplaced rookie catcher Endy Rodriguez to UCL surgical procedure again in December. The 23-year-old teen is anticipated to overlook the whole thing of the 2024 marketing campaign, leaving backup catcher Jason Delay and catching-prospect-turned-outfielder Henry Davis because the membership’s high inner choices behind the plate. Delay owns a .233/.293/.311 slash line throughout 127 video games within the majors, whereas Davis struggled to a .213/.302/.351 slash line throughout his first 255 journeys to the plate within the large leagues final season.
The addition of Grandal figures to provide the Pirates the chance to supply Davis, who has caught simply two innings behind the plate final 12 months and has began solely 92 contests on the place all through his whole skilled profession, extra time to develop defensively behind the plate within the minor leagues ought to he require it. Alternatively, the membership may look to pair Grandal with Davis on the large league degree, offering Davis a veteran mentor as he goes by his first large league season as an everyday backstop. Such an association may contain the membership carrying three catchers on its roster to open the season, although Delay has choices remaining and might be utilized as depth on the Triple-A degree.
Pittsburgh additionally signed 27-year-old catcher Ali Sanchez to a big league deal again in December. Sanchez has simply seven video games of huge league expertise, however sports activities an honest .275/.345/.402 slash line for his profession on the Triple-A degree and has a powerful defensive popularity behind the plate. Sanchez is out of choices, which means the membership must both carry him on their Opening Day roster or expose him to waivers. With Grandal, Davis, Delay, and Sanchez all set to enter camp with not less than a shot at an enormous league position for the Pirates coming into the season, the membership has efficiently addressed its large league caliber catching depth within the wake of Rodriguez’s damage.