Yesterday I was listening to the MLBTR Podcast, and the host Jeff Todd and Charlie Wilmoth of MLBTR and Bucs Dugout were talking about the Pirates options at catcher. One of the options they mentioned was a trade for Yasmani Grandal.
It got me thinking should the Padres entertain the idea of moving Grandal? He was a top prospect in Cincinnati who since joining the Padres has had seasons shortened by injuries and suspensions, and has yet to play a fully healthy year. To me that looks like someone whose value has fallen off a cliff, but he does have one good thing going for him, his age. Next week Grandal will turn 26-years-old and he’s already got 216 major league games under his belt. While some guys are just breaking into the big leagues at that age, Grandal has already gotten his fair share of experience as he gets ready to enter his prime.
Even at his young age Grandal’s value is still down from when the Padres acquired him, so why would the Padres want get 10 cents on the dollar? A philosophy some people have is that it’s better to trade someone a year early rather than a year late. If he hits anywhere close to the .225/.327/.401 he hit last year without the excuse the injury he might be devoid of value all together. With Austin Hedges, arguably the top catching prospect in baseball, getting close to being ready for the majors, the Padres would probably like to be able get some value for the guy blocking the way.
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Also the Padres could try to capitalize on a bad situation Pittsburgh. With the limited payroll they have retaining Russell Martin will be a challenge, and if he does leave it will be a huge blow to their team. With the Cardinals, Brewers and possibly the Cubs all looking to contend for the NL Central the Pirates can’t afford a loss like that. So why would Grandal be an adequate replacement? Well let’s look at the Steamer projections for the two for 2015.
Martin: .240/.341/.392, 12 HRs, 45, RBI, 109 wRC+, 3.2 WAR
Grandal: .237/.335/.389 11 HRs, 42 RBI, 110 wRC+, 2.2 WAR
While he pales in comparison to Martin in defense and intangibles, offensively they project to be roughly the same player. With the Pirates top in house option being Chris Stewart and a free agent class led by Geovany Soto and just about nobody else a 26 year old Grandal seems like something worth going after.
If the Pirates are able to put together a strong offer for Grandal, the Padres should at least listen. This could be a make or break year for Grandal and if he doesn’t break out like the Padres are hoping he does, he might just become baggage they’re forced to carry around. All that being said I, myself, am not quite ready to give up Grandal, but if a team like the Pirates is willing to overpay for his services it might be hard not to say no.