When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Yasmani Grandal in a package from the San Diego Padres, one side of the coin had them gaining a 26-year-old switch hitter who excels in pitching framing, which Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman greatly values.
However, Grandal also arrived in Los Angeles with a bit of a checkered past. There was the PED suspension that cost him 50 games in 2013, concerns over his surgically repaired right knee, and rumors of the Padres pitching staff preferring to work with Rene Rivera.
Throughout Spring Training and now six games into the season, there’s been nothing but praise for Grandal. Zack Greinke in particular has been a staunch supporter, saying after their first regular season game together he “couldn’t draw up a better catcher.” Greinke and Grandal formed the Dodgers battery Sunday and again found success as the right-hander threw seven shutout innings.
Following the game, Greinke praised Grandal in light of the reputation he had and said the positive opinion of the catcher extends throughout the Dodgers’ pitching staff, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
It’s kind of interesting because of that,” Greinke said. “You’re paying attention to see what it’s going to be like. But, like I said, it’s been great. There was a little bit of a rumor, but he hasn’t shown anything but positives, not just to me. Every one of our pitchers has been impressed with him.”
Grandal expressed his gratitude when told of Greinke’s comments:
It kind of feels like I’m doing my job right,” Grandal said. “That’s what I want to do when you have a pitching staff like the one we have. It definitely feels good to know the pitchers are behind you.”
Thus far Grandal has caught all Dodgers starters with the exception, a big one, being Clayton Kershaw. A.J. Ellis has been behind the plate for both of Kershaw’s starts this season, but manager Don Mattingly has continued to deny or support the idea of Ellis being Kershaw’s personal catcher. Grandal caught Kershaw twice during Spring Training.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly Discusses Catching Situation