Yasmani Grandal hoping to be the Pirates starting catcher

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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Up until mid-January the Pittsburgh Pirates catching plans seemed to be centered around Henry Davis being the starter with Jason Delay and Ali Sanchez backing him up in some capacity. However, things started to change as the date for pitchers and catchers to report became closer.

The first rumor that broke this line of thinking dealt with the Pirates being interested in veteran backstop Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is known for his ability behind the dish, cannon of an arm, and home run power. Sanchez at the very least would expect to play a large percentage of the games. So when he signed with the Brewers it sort of made sense as they simply have more projected playing time for him.

However, it still was noted that the team was working on the catching market. Then on February 11th, it was reported that the Pirates had reached an agreement with veteran backstop Yasmani Grandal. While Grandal is coming off a tough 2023 campaign, it was not surprising to see after the Sanchez rumors. Grandal was officially added to the roster on February 14th.

So why were the Pittsburgh Pirates so concerned with bringing in a veteran catcher when the plan is for Henry Davis to get the majority of reps? Well, maybe it is not as it seems. Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh TribLive posted an interview with the new backstop:

So it sounds like the Pittsburgh Pirates are open to giving Grandal a real chance at being more than just a backup catcher.

He does acknowledge that he is going to be expected to help develop Davis and even Delay to an extent. However, he mentions that he wants the starting opportunity and I cannot imagine that this one, not a conversation that happened before agreeing to a deal.

Grandal is a switch hitter which will give the team plenty of flexibility when using him. While I am excited to see what Grandal can add to this team, I really was not expecting someone to be brought in that would essentially take away from the development of Henry Davis. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds through Spring Training.