The Dodgers had an amazing squad in the 2017 postseason. What is interesting, however, is the amount of players that became starters as the season went on. One player in particular that fought his way into the starting lineup was Austin Barnes.
The emergence of Austin Barnes appears to have made Yasmani Grandal expendable. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted that the Dodgers are willing to trade the veteran catcher.
Rival clubs say #Dodgers are willing to trade catcher Yasmani Grandal, who is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility. Grandal started 2 games in postseason; Austin Barnes started the other 13. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 30, 2017
Grandal has been the Dodgers starting catcher for the past three seasons, but his time in Los Angeles may be coming to an end. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Austin Barnes started the bulk of the games in the postseason including all seven in the World Series. Grandal has always been a power threat who could draw walks, but Austin Barnes is the complete package as a hitter. Grandal is a better defender than Barnes, but apparently not enough so that they feel they need to keep him.
With Grandal entering his final year of team control, this move makes sense for the Dodgers. The market for catchers this offseason is relatively weak, so the Dodgers could get a desperate enough team to overpay. In short, the return they could get could be worth far more to the team than Yasmani may be at this point. Kyle Farmer’s late season success showed that the Dodgers have two younger, and very capable backstops already on the roster.
It also helps that the Dodgers have two highly touted catching prospects as well. Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz have both shown promise and either could be the catcher of the future. Both are likely a couple years away from regular Major League at-bats, but provide the long-term security needed to trade a starter who is still only 29-years old.
Grandal’s three seasons with the Dodgers have seen him slash .240/.339/.435 with 65 home runs over 1,365 plate appearances. He has always been an on-base machine, but he did take a slight step back in 2017 with only 40 walks. He still managed to hit 22 home runs along with 27 doubles in what was a productive, yet unspectacular season. Barnes on the other hand slashed .289/.408/.430 with 8 homers and 15 doubles over 262 plate appearances in 2017. With the latter showing more offensive promise, it’s easy to see why the Dodgers would want to move the more expensive Grandal.
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