The Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly engage in "serious talks" with catcher Yasmani Grandal. The veteran catcher makes a lot of sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Henry Davis primed to take over as the everyday catcher, Grandal will be the primary backup. However, he will serve more of a purpose than just that. He will be a safety net if Henry Davis ends up not being best suited as a catcher. He also will be a valuable mentor to help Davis reach his potential as a backstop.
In 2023, Grandal suited up for the Chicago White Sox, but his numbers may not have impressed at first glance. With a WAR of -0.7, it is hard to get overly excited. Although he is a plus framer still, he is just not as athletic as he once was behind the plate. Also, this will be more of a backup role so he will likely not be as worn down by playing day to day.
Looking at Grandal's overall career, a different picture emerges. Over the years, he's been a consistent performer, tallying a career WAR of 19.6. His offense has always been strong for a catcher with a batting average of .237, on-base percentage of .347, and slugging percentage of .426. Plus, with 185 career homers under his belt, he's got the power, including 8 that he hit in 2023 in 118 total games.
Sure, Grandal's 2023 season might not have been his best. But hey, everyone has their off days – or even off years. The key is to look at the bigger picture. With a track record of success like Grandal's, it's safe to say he's more than capable of bouncing back and making a meaningful impact with the Pirates whether as a player on the field or as a veteran mentor.
As negotiations between the Pirates and Grandal heat up, it's clear that both parties see the potential for a deal. For the Pirates, adding a Grandal is not that surprising. The team was reportedly in on now former free agent catcher Gary Sanchez as well. So it seems they were looking for a veteran catcher with some pop left in their bat. The other interesting thing is that Grandal played 32 innings at first base in 2023. Another spot the Pittsburgh Pirates always struggle to fill.
It will be interesting to see what kind of deal it ends up being between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yasmani Grandal.
Grandal is coming off a 4 year $78 million dollar deal with Chicago. With Ali Sanchez on a split contract and Jason Delay having options available, Grandal will have a good chance at being on the opening-day roster. So it would not be surprising to see him get a Major League deal.
UPDATE: DEAL IS OFFICIAL
Grandal to the Pirates is official. According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the deal will be worth $2.5 million and include incentives to earn more.