The consensus top free agent catcher apparently did not end up with the kind of deal he was looking for.
Yasmani Grandal has settled for a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers that is pending a physical, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal is said to be worth $18.25 million, just slightly more than the qualifying offer.
Grandal, 30, is one of the better power-hitting catchers in MLB and also regarded as a top pitch framer. Those factors led him to be considered a top free agent, but a market did not materialize in his favor, likely because of a deep market at the position. Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy and Robinson Chirinos were all available and have signed deals. Matt Wieters and Martin Maldonado are also available, while Francisco Cervelli and Russell Martin were believed to be available in trades. Playing the waiting game appears to have backfired on Grandal.
The Cuban-born catcher reportedly turned down a 4-year, $60 million deal with the Mets before taking a deal with Milwaukee. He also turned down a one-year qualifying offer from the Dodgers that would have paid him $17.9 million.
Grandal is one of baseball’s best catchers, both behind and at the plate. Last season, he hit .241/.340/.484 with 24 HR, a 13.9% K-rate and a 13.9% BB-rate. He was second in all MLB catchers in wRC+ with 125, behind on JT Realmuto’s 126.
While most Brewer fans will remember him for his defensive difficulties during the playoffs with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has consistently ranked as one of the best defenders in baseball. Last season, he was ninth in the MLB with nine defensive runs saved. Those runs are three more than Manny Pina, and much higher than Wilson Ramos or JT Realmuto, the top two available catchers besides Grandal this offseason.