According to a tweet earlier this morning from ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney, the San Diego Padres are preparing to heavily market starting catcher Yasmani Grandal in preparation for the trade market. Baseball’s annual winter meetings are right around the corner, as they will be held in San Diego of all places starting next week. The Padres currently have options with Rene Rivera coming off his best offensive season, Grandal, who is recuperating from knee surgery that hindered his play all season, and prospect Austin Hedges, whose bat has yet to develop to the point of being big league-ready.
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Grandal came to the Padres as part of the trade that also brought Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez to the Friars–sending pitching Mat Latos to Cincinnati. The move was viewed originally as huge for San Diego, but none of the players have lived up to expectations. Grandal while playing injured throughout most of 2014, did still lead the Padres in home runs with 15, splitting time between first base and behind the plate.
It’s interesting that the Padres continue to dangle Grandal out in the trade market, when first year GM A.J. Preller is desperately trying to piece some semblance of offense together for his team. His attempts to sign both Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas were rebuffed last week, as Sandoval signed with Boston and Tomas signed with division-rival Arizona.
I would think with Rene Rivera’s age, lack of offensive firepower, and the continued development of Austin Hedeges, Grandal would be the one the Padres would want to hold on to. With 500 or so at-bats, and completely healthy next season, Grandal could be a 25-30 home run-caliber player. He has been working out all off-season in preparation for 2015, trying to keep the rust off his bat and get a solid start in spring training. The only question now is, will it be for the Padres?