Numerous rumors abound as the offseason starts to pick up steam in November.
It isn’t a well-kept secret that the Astros need a quality catcher. Numerous teams also need a quality catcher. That is why you’re seeing rumors ranging from trade offers for J.T. Realmuto to clubs scouring the free agent market. For example, Yasmani Grandal figures to draw a lot of interest on the open market, despite a rough postseason.
Oh, look, the Astros are reportedly interested in the Dodgers’ free-agent catcher.
For a catcher, Grandal had a solid 2018 season as he slashed .241/.349/.466 with 24 home runs and a 121 OPS+ in 518 plate appearances. The birthday boy, who is now 30-years old today, also finished with the best framing runs total (15.7), and second-best fielding runs above average (17.7) among catchers in 2018. It is obvious to see why teams are interested in the free-agent, especially in today’s baseball landscape for catchers.
But there is the issue of the $17.9 million qualifying offer by Los Angeles. Grandal has until Monday to make a decision to accept or reject the offer. With the surge of interest in his services, it is doubtful he accepts the offer, especially if he can secure a long-term commitment. If he does reject, then any team he signs would forfeit an early round draft pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. The Astros, in particular, have shown reluctance in surrendering a draft pick for a free agent who rejects the qualifying offer. At the same time, there is a lack of quality catchers readily available. For a lot of teams, it is either trade numerous top prospects for Realmuto or to surrender a draft pick for Grandal.
Grandal would be a nice consolation prize for a team that doesn’t acquire Realmuto from Miami. While his latest performance in the postseason won’t endear him to many, he was one of the best catchers in baseball this year. The fit is quite apparent for a team like the Astros as he would provide stability to a prominent position while allowing lineup flexibility as he is a switch-hitter. FanGraphs’ contract estimates have Grandal receiving a three-year commitment worth an annual value anywhere from $13 to $15 million. That’s a fair rate for a high-quality catcher.