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Grandal One Year Deal Is Very Troubling

Yesterday, Yasmani Grandal accepted a one year deal from the Milwaukee Brewers for one year $18.25 million. He accepted that deal at a time when it appeared few if any teams were interested in him, which is odd considering how many teams needed catching help.

The Braves, who had approximately $54 million come off the payroll, opted to sign Brian McCann and Josh Donaldson for $25 million. Despite a low payroll and a tightening NL East, they opted for a backup catcher than Grandal.

The Angels, who are trying to find a way to win before Mike Trout possibly departs via free agency, opted for Jonathan Lucroy on a one year $3.35 million deal.

The Athletics made a surprising run last year and had Lucroy as a pending free agent. They needed to fortify a few positions, including catcher, and they opted for Chris Herrmann to a one year $1 million deal.

The Astros, who are trying to build a team to overtake a Red Sox team who needed just five games to beat them in the ALCS, opted for Robinson Chirinos on a one year $5.75 million deal.

The White Sox are contemplating building a team who can make a run in a weak AL Central signed James McCann to a one year $2.5 million deal.

Last year, the Phillies were nervous about Jorge Alfaro‘s ability to take home a team in a pennant race. Accordingly, they traded for Wilson Ramos despite his being on the DL. They haven’t pursued any free agent catchers.

The Nationals, who have to find a way to reclaim the NL East and do it potentially with Bryce Harper, opted to go with the 35 year old Kurt Suzuki. To be fair, they did sign Patrick Corbin to a $140 million deal.

The Nationals also opted to obtain Yan Gomes from the Indians. This left the Indians looking for a catcher, so they obtained Kevin Plawecki from the Mets, and they settled his arbitration case for $1.3 million.

Plawecki was available because they signed Ramos for two years $19 million, and the team opted to pair the injury prone catcher with the more injury prone Travis d’Arnaud.

Supposedly, the Mets shifted to Ramos after Grandal rejected a four year $60 million deal. The problem there is that didn’t happen.

Jon Heyman of Fancred reported the Mets offered less than $60 million, and Ken Rosenthal of The Atlantic reported the Mets didn’t offer it. Instead, they just discussed parameters for a deal. It’s much like what happened with Jose Reyes in 201- before he signed with the Marlins.

We can all debate how real the Mets offer was, and how prudent their course of action was. Fact is, the Mets obtained a starting catching option while the rest of baseball have dabbled in part-time, backup, and frankly over the hill catchers.

To a team, they passed on offering Ramos a significant enough multi-year deal, and if they did, they didn’t make one sufficient enough to prevent Grandal from accepting a one year deal.

This is despite the aforementioned teams needing a catcher. The Red Sox, Rays, Athletics, Angels, Dodgers, and Rockies also need a starting catcher. Keep in mind, that’s just a list of probable contenders. There’s a bigger list of teams needing a catcher and those who want to be contenders.

All of these teams passed on a catcher who is probably the best catcher in baseball. He’s that because he is consistently one of the best pitch framers in the game while being top three in wRC+ among catchers since 2016.

These teams could argue they want J.T. Realmuto, who some believe is the best catcher in baseball. Problem is the Marlins asking price has been unrealistically high and only one team can get him. Far more teams than one need a catcher.

Yet, somehow, Grandal gets a one year deal. For that matter, Ramos gets a two year deal.

Somehow, the Mets, Braves, Nationals, Angels, Athletics, Astros, and White Sox independently determined none of the free agents available merited more than a two year deal, and the other 23 MLB teams thought nothing of letting this happen.

This is happening at a time when Forbes is reporting Major League Baseball has record revenues of $10.3 billion.

Simultaneously, there has been a tepid market for Harper and Manny Machado. These are two 26 year old superstars who have been in the top 15 in fWAR since they broke into the majors while combing for 10 All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves, four top 10 MVP finishes, and a Silver Slugger.

This is what collusion looks like, and this is the type of thing which will force the players hand prior to the expiration of the CBA in 2021.

Sure, teams will claim they’re smarter now, and they’ve seen how you can’t win by just spending money while ignoring the World Series features the two highest payrolls in baseball. Snark aside, maybe teams are smarter.

It just seems odd they’re all collectively smart enough where they agree catchers shouldn’t get more than a two year deal and two of the best players in the sport wouldn’t put their team over the top.

48 thoughts on “Grandal One Year Deal Is Very Troubling”

  1. oldbackstop says:

    I’d be interested how many catchers answered the bell for the full year in their Age 30, 31, 32, 33 years. You just can’t count on OldBackstops.

    I saw Rosenthal today say that Grandal was talking more than 4/$60+ with the Mets and it tipped over their comfort level, and I don’t blame them. He has only played a handful of games at first, so no breathers for those back and knee problems that WILL be coming. Catchers game starts have been dropping every year, 2018 was the first year Grandal played more than 129 games. It is headed toward a pracitally platoon position.

    And, setting aside that he looked like a gate in the playoffs, Grandal has led the league in Passed Balls three (3) times, (’14, ’16, ’17) and his Caught Stealings are average, a shade under league average in his career.

    Ramos slashed .306/.358/.487/.845 last year and was an All Star in 2018. Grandal slashed .241/.349/.466/.815 and hasn’t been an All Star since 2015 (I know, your favorite year :-))

    So if you are saying that decision is very troubling for the Mets, I totally disagree. There are safer, better bets at every position for us to make than a catcher wanting four years going into his 30s. According to Rosenthal, Grandal was fixated on the AAV, and nobody was offering $18.25 for multiple years. (4/$73m)

    He is the 4th highest catcher salary for 2019, something like that?

    Or maybe he threw in his cards too early , remember the top of the market is still sitting out there.

    If $18.25m for a Age 30 catcher is collusion, cry me a river. I think collusion is when a guy gets no offers or is signed for the league minimum in spring training. I don’t think the world owes OldBackstops multi-year contracts.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mets never offered that deal to Grandal

      1. oldbackstop says:

        Are you saying reports they had discussions on parameters are false? If Grandal’s people say they won’t take less than 4/$73, why would you bother making a “formal” offer at 4/$60? So you could insult your current catchers, undermine negotiations with other potential catchers, and make yourself look like a loser to your fan base?

        Clearly there was interest and Grandal wanted more than the Mets wanted to pay.

        No black helicopters here. Ramos is a wildly better signing.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          It’s false to say he turned down 4/$60 because the Mets never offered it. We can debate the wisdom of their signing Ramos over Grandal, but we can’t say a player turned down an offer he never received.

          1. oldbackstop says:

            Who said he was offered and turned down? I said they were talking, talking parameters. I’d say it is nearly unheard of to have the scenario you outline….a formal “offer” and a turn down. You get the parameters and know there is a deal or not.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            That’s not a negotiation works. You don’t throw out upper and lower parameters

      2. bill says:

        Last I checked the World Champion Red Sox still have Vasquez who happens to be an excellent defensive catcher & Sandy Leon who also is a good defensive catcher & his pitchers love him & a third catcher in Blake Swihart. Granted all 3 of them can’t hit but the Red Sox have a deep lineup that can afford a weak spot in the lineup.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Red Sox can afford the weaker spot. That is absolutely true. That said, can they afford to go that route again when the Yankees and Rays may be better, and your already suspect bullpen lost its second best arm and may lose its closer?

      3. West Coast Mets Fan says:

        https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/12/rumors-grandal-mets-dodgers-tigers-castellanos.html

        It has been reported that they offered and he did in fact reject a deal

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Subsequent reports detailed the Mets didn’t offer him $60 million and that it was at the stage of dickering, not an offer.

          1. West Coast Mets Fan says:

            Where is the link to the report that it was not an offer. I cannot find one.

          2. West Coast Mets Fan says:

            Here is an article in the Daily News on Grandal. He does not deny the Mets made an offer:

            https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/ny-sports-yasmani-grandal-brewers-20190115-story.html

            “A lot of teams made good deals and I am grateful for that, but I felt like part of my responsibility as a player was to respect the guys who went through the process before I did — Brian McCann, Russell Martin and Yadier Molina,” Grandal told the MLB Network after his introductory press conference at Miller Park.

            So it seems there is no collusion here. Just a player that thinks he is worth more than teams are willing to pay for a player that fades at year end and had defensive lapses down the stretch and in the playoffs

          3. metsdaddy says:

            No collusion, just teams individually agreeing to restrict and bring down the AAV of the best catcher in baseball.

    2. I am a Dodgers fan for 40 years. Grandal was absolutely horrible. His magic stat is the framing which shouldn’t be used as any kind of tool, too subjective. He literally lost game 1 by himself to the Brew game 1 with that nearly being responsible for a series loss as the Dodgers just did pulled out. You just had to see him the entire year and get past his HR total. he is pathetic as a right handed hitter as welll. He’s a 10-11 mil per year at best. The Breweres got fleeced.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Sorry, but you’re wrong about pitch framing. It’s vitally important.

  2. oldbackstop says:

    I’m sorry, I left out the most important point. According to MLBT this morning, almost all the teams you mention: the Astros, Braves, Dodgers, Padres, Rays, and Reds, are still actively in on Realmuto. So the catcher market is likely stalled until that plays out.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      That’s idiotic. They all know the Marlins want too much. They’re using Realmuto as an excuse.

  3. oldbackstop says:

    Gotta love Lowrie….backup SS with +4.0 the last two years and 2018 AS.

    Rosario to the bench, sez me, altho they are touting him a superutil.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You start Rosario

      1. oldbackstop says:

        Maybe, if Lowrie’s two games better WAR is undercut by a lack of defense (lower than Rosario’s negative dWAR)

        You don’t know, and neither do I.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Considering Lowrie hasn’t played SS since 2014, we know

  4. oldbackstop says:

    CBSSports, MLBTR, Sports Illustrated an hour ago. I could cite many, it’s be the same reporting all day: “Six teams are interested in catcher J.T. Realmuto, including the Braves, Dodgers, Astros, Padres, Rays and Reds. In return, the Marlins want a top prospect and more.”

    Idiotic? Not clear why that would confuse movement on the second best catcher available? If you are in discussions to get Realmuto, should you just sign Grandal because MD thinks it is unfair?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s idiotic for every team to wait for the Marlins to bring down the price tag while not signing the better catcher

      1. oldbackstop says:

        In what universe is 5.5 WAR over the past two years, 30 year old Grandal at a $60 million commitment a better catcher than 8.0 WAR over the last two years, 28 year old, two years arb Realmuto?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          In a world where pitch framing matters.

          I’d also note, WAR for catchers is very poorly calculated as the defensive component judges throwing arm, which is the bottom of the list of important things a catcher does.

          1. oldbackstop says:

            I agree with the some what looseness of catcher WAR, or rather the dWAR component, but it has more validity than framing, where guys like Lucroy get measured first to worst overnight.

            You can look at counting stats if you wish, passed balls, and Grandal has led the league 3 of the last four years.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Should I completely dismiss batting average, OBP, SLG, HR, WAR, etc because a player over 30 sees his skills decline?

      2. oldbackstop says:

        Oh, PS, six teams hanging around without moving off him is the OPPOSITE of collusion.

        Do you get that simple principle?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          False

  5. oldbackstop says:

    Let me make the concise reply to your article I should have:

    All six teams you mention as candidates for a top catcher were reported today as still being looking to trade for Realmuto, a younger, better, cheaper, shorter commitment catcher than Grandal. After Realmuto is sorted out, Grandal probably could have entertained longer term contracts, but probably would not have got the $18.25 m AAV he got. The fact that all six teams are still circling is the *opposite* of collusion.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Wrong

    2. oldbackstop says:

      Oh. And Grandal would cost a draft pick.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        What does Realmuto cost?

        1. OldBackstop says:

          Wrong

          1. metsdaddy says:

            Realmuto‘s cost is Wrong? What’s his BABIP?

          2. oldbackstop says:

            Oh, I thought the new thing was just saying “false” or “wrong.”

            Personally, I don’t like paying for offense at catcher. It is overpriced, prone to injury, and trending toward only getting 120 games from the best of them.

            I’d rather have a cheap catcher with a 1.0 oWAR and a 2.0 dWAR, and go look to pay to make up those runs in the corner positions or quality depth like Lowrie,

            Also, obviously, this is a team that doesn’t care much about planning for 2021, they will buy and wheel and deal when the time comes, so it is probably better for all our blood pressure if we just get on the train,

          3. metsdaddy says:

            No, it’s what you say when someone says something false or wrong

          4. oldbackstop says:

            Framing is a an utter dice roll. Lucroy goes to a different team with a different staff, goes worst to first. As soon as someone gets a rep stealing strikes, the umps crack down on him.

          5. metsdaddy says:

            That’s like saying umpires caught wise to Albert Pujols’ knowledge of the strike zone, so they started calling more strikes. That’s why his OBP dropped off a cliff.

            Of course, we know that’s nonsense. The real answer is he got older and his skills declined. Same principle applies to pitch framing.

  6. Met Bet says:

    The problem is not that aging players are not being paid handsomely. Teams have wisened up to the fact that deals for 30+ players often are not worth it, especially catchers. The real problem is that the young superstars are being screwed out of their fair share by the current system. The problem is that the players negotiating are not interested in giving them a fair shake.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The teams have gotten wiser goes out the door when the vast majority of teams have zero interest in Machado and Harper.

  7. Pat says:

    MLB: Rule 21
    “MISCONDUCT
    (a) MISCONDUCT IN PLAYING BASEBALL.
    Any player or person connected with a Club who shall promise
    or agree to lose, or
    to attempt to lose, or to fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any
    baseball game with which he is or may be in any way concerned, or who shall intentionally lose or
    attempt to lose, or intentionally fail to give his best efforts towards th
    e winning of any such baseball
    game, or who shall solicit or attempt to induce any player or person connected with a Club to lose or
    attempt to lose, or to fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with which
    such other player
    or person is or may be in any way concerned,…”

    The rule is very clear, anyone who is tied to an organization, including the owners: must do everything they can to win every baseball game: Refusing to pay for top talent when they have the money generated from fans is clearly not doing the best they can to win every game; Tanking is Illegal. Besides, I think every team has Public financing of their stadium. They promised those stadiums would be so they could buy players to build winning teams. Go look at the record, none of them said those publicly finance stadiums was to increase their profit or net worth. None of them would. They have duped the public and baseball fans in general while violating their own rules. Collusion and Fraud are very evident.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Tanking is not illegal at the organizational level. If it was, there’d be no deadline deals because they’d all be deemed impermissible.

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