Yasmani Grandal’s Days are Numbered in San Diego
By Sinan Habeeb
Rumors surfaced this past week as a report surfaced indicating that Yasmani Grandal was seeking a trade, or his outright release from the Padres. Grandal would reply on twitter, citing the source as not credible and discredited the report as being not true in a Tweet that has since been deleted. Whether Grandal requested a trade or not, the writing is on the wall for the former top prospect.
Yasmani Grandal was acquired in recently fired general manger Josh Byrnes’ first blockbuster trade, as Mat Latos was sent to the Cincinnati Reds for the package of Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger. At the time, Grandal was a top prospect in the Reds’ organizations putting up high power numbers. However, after an initially hot start with the Padres after his call-up in 2012, where he hit .297 with eight home runs, Grandal’s career came to a screeching halt.
Grandal was suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season due to a failed PED drug test for high levels of testosterone as a part of the Biogenesis scandal. To pile on, Grandal would tear his ACL in a home plate collision against the Washington Nationals, ending his season. His injury prompted the Padres to sign veteran Rene Rivera, who up to this point has been the Padres MVP for the 2014 season.
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There is also the matter of Austin Hedges, the Padres’ number one prospect. Hedges is miles better in terms of defensive ability, and the Padres hope his bat will be far along enough to warrant a call-up in the 2015 campaign. Hedges has been promoted rapidly through the farm in recent years, and making the team out of spring training is not out of the question.
Grandal is under team control through 2018, and is making slightly more than Rivera. Rivera is also a free agent after the season, and the Padres will undoubtedly want him back for next season. This puts the team with a three-catcher logjam similar to the start of this season, which saw long time Nick Hundley traded to the Baltimore Orioles. It is not out of the question that the Padres move Grandal in a trade if they deem that Hedges is ready. Grandal has also shown a willingness to play first base this season due to the injuries to Yonder Alonso. However, his defense has been suspect, resulting in him getting pulled in the late innings.
Unless he changes postitions in the offseason to be a full time first baseman or outfielder, the Padres could opt to move him in the offseason or just before the trade deadline next July, depending on where Hedges is in terms of his bat. His fate will also be linked to Yonder Alonso, who also seems to be on the outs after another injury-filled campaign. An opening to be the full-time first baseman might entice Grandal enough to switch, but as it seems right now, Grandal doesn’t seem to be apart of the Friars future in 2015 and beyond.