2. Yasmani Grandal – C, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Baltimore Orioles lost Welington Castillo this offseason as he declined his player option to stay with the team (which we all knew was coming). Now, the Orioles have top-prospect Chance Sisco as an option at catcher, along with veteran Caleb Joseph, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the team looked to free agency or a trade to grab another catcher.
Yasmani Grandal has been an extremely productive catcher. Since 2015, he has 65 home runs which is second in the league behind just Salvador Perez, and while he can be prone to slumps, he’s still a productive hitter.
Last season, Grandal slashed .247/.308/.459 with 22 home runs, 50 runs, and 58 RBIs. One would imagine that those numbers would increase moving from the mostly-pitcher-friendly environment of the NL West to the hitter-friendly environment of the AL East.
The Orioles see Sisco as the catcher of the future, understandably, but it would make sense if they wanted to ease him into the starting role rather than just tossing him into it and saying “good luck.”
Grandal has one year of arbitration left on his contract before becoming a free agent, so he could be a nice one-year rental for the Baltimore Orioles and platoon with Sisco.
If there’s one thing the Orioles’ lineup needs, it’s left-handed hitters (Sisco and Chris Davis are the only ones currently projected in the lineup). Grandal is a switch-hitter (just like Sisco) and could fill that need for the team while being a valuable offensive asset.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Dodgers move Grandal either, given that he has just the one year of arbitration left while Austin Barnes is younger and under team control for longer (not to mention 22-year-old prospect Will Smith and 19-year-old prospect Keibert Ruiz working their way through the minors).