Photo courtesy of Sportsnet.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed veteran catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year deal that guarantees him $2.5MM and includes incentives.
Grandal, 35, has played 12 seasons and has a career .237 batting average. He was a first-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 MLB Draft but was traded the following season to the San Diego Padres in a big five player deal. He made his debut in 2012 with the Padres and later in the season was selected to play in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game.
The switch-hitting backstop logged his first full season in 2014 with San Diego, playing in 128 games and hitting .225 with 15 homers. In December of 2014, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers and had 4 productive seasons for them.
Grandal is a two-time All-Star selection (2015, 2019) and had his most productive season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019 as a 30-year-old. In 2019, he hit .246 with a career high 28 home runs and 77 runs batted in. Except for his original call-up season in 2012, Grandal has not hit over .247 in a season. What is even more alarming is his past two seasons with the White Sox, he has only hit .219 and 13 home runs in close to 800 at bats.
The Pirates have a lot of question marks at the catching position going into the 2024 season. Henry Davis is starting his 2nd Major League season and played 49 games as a outfielder, only catching a total of 2 innings. Last year’s starter Endy Rodriguez is out the season with an elbow injury. The Pirates only have last year’s backup Jason Delay but signed journeyman Ali Sanchez as a depth piece. The signing of Grandal could offer the Pirates options to be more patient, bringing Davis along more slowly as a starting catcher.
Grandal is a switch-hitter who has excellent patience at the plate and draws his fair share of walks. His defense has declined over the past 3 seasons, but he is still capable of blocking balls and throwing runners out. The Pirates are hoping he can regain some of the power he had in 2021 with the White Sox and become a solid bat at the bottom of their lineup.
Chances are good that the Pirates will keep 3 catchers when they leave Spring Training this season, opening up some at bats for Henry Davis as a DH, while Grandal starts.
Draft Nation Stats- First round pick (12th overall) in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds out of Miami (FL)