Grandal posted a career year at the plate in 2019, owning an OPS just shy of .850. The former Los Angeles Dodger remains an elite framer, too. Only Austin Hedges registered more framing runs than Grandal per Baseball Prospectus.
Free agency is treacherous for players at the moment, but Grandal couldn’t be hitting the market at a better time. Catcher is particularly weak; Grandal provides elite defence and serious power.
These three teams should be giving Grandal’s agent a call…
The Braves won 97 games last season and have plenty of top prospects still to come. They’re in a great spot and just re-signed Tyler Flowers for 2020. Spending on Grandal isn’t top priority, but it’s an avenue they should explore after Brian McCann’s retirement.
Atlanta ranked 25th in MLB in catcher wins above average. McCann and Flowers split the majority of the plate appearances. While Flowers is very good defensively – fourth in framing runs – he’s incomparable to Grandal offensively. Flowers would be a brilliant deputy to Grandal, and Grandal would still be a good battery mate for the young pitchers.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels continue to let Mike Trout’s prime fizzle on sub .500 teams. Injuries didn’t help last season, of course, but it would be nice to see the Angels make some blockbuster free agency moves.
Jonathan Lucroy and Kevan Smith were firmly below average on both sides of the ball in 2019. Grandal would be an earth-shattering upgrade. Trout and Shohei Ohtani will welcome the arrival of another middle-of-the-order bat – Grandal kills two birds with one stone (he would’ve been tied for second-best OPS on the club last season).
If the Angels are serious about competing, Grandal should be a top priority.
After throwing all the money in the world at Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies endured their worst campaign since 2015. Only a handful of their players were anywhere near league average offensively, and their production from catcher was poor. Tony Wolters’ OPS+ was 64.
The Rockies are nearly $40 million short of the luxury tax. Ownership showed a willingness to spend on the bullpen, Charlie Blackmon and Arenado. Grandal is a piece that could be transformative for them and should be well within their budget.
Grandal hit 28 dingers last year – imagine how many he’d hit at Coors.