Given that Austin Barnes replaced him as the starter in the 2017 postseason, it should come as no surprise that the Dodgers are reportedly willing to trade Yasmani Grandal.
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
It makes sense. Grandal will likely walk after next year, he could be used to get something the Dodgers need more than a backup catcher (and he’s expensive to boot), and the team appears to trust Kyle Farmer. The problem comes when one tries to apply the hypothetical to reality.
When Dustin did his off-season plan for this year, the main thing I questioned was sending Grandal to the Indians, who already have two catchers signed long term. So I tried to look for other places to send him, and honestly I couldn’t come up with much that made a ton of sense. Sure, Grandal would upgrade many teams as a ~3 WAR catcher (that could be worth more with framing), but with only one year left of control, he’s useless to a team that doesn’t know for sure they’re contending next year and most of the teams that do know they’re in it are already set at the position. The lack of a robust market for Grandal probably means the Dodgers won’t be scoring any kind of impact player for him, so it begs the question of whether it’s even gonna be worth dealing him despite the idea behind it being sound.
The Dodgers front office can be creative in ways most never see coming, but when I look at how things currently stand, I’m not convinced trading Grandal nets a clear upgrade for the team in 2018. Thus, the incentive to breakup the best catching tandem in the league between Grandal and Barnes shouldn’t be high as there are worst things to have than two starting-quality catchers. Because despite the confidence I have in Barnes as a starter and Farmer as a backup, is throwing them into those roles with no safety net a necessary risk the Dodgers need to take when they desperately want 2018 to be the year? I don’t think so, and the downside to a Grandal trade seems to outweigh the upside.