The offseason has been a big ol’ swing and miss for the LA Angels so far. They have been in on many of the big names, especially in the starting pitching market. However, they have yet to make a significant move and are now focusing in on former Dodgers’ catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Last week, reports surfaced saying Wilson Ramos was the LA Angels’ top priority. However, Ramos signed with the New York Mets over the weekend, leaving the Angels with empty arms once again.
And now, it seems the Angels have shifted their focus into (arguably) the most talented catcher on the free agent market. Per reports, Yasmani Grandal is now in the Angels’ sights, as no team has brought in the 30-year old backstop so far this offseason.
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Grandal is a very well-rounded catcher at this point in his career. Most fans remember his defensive struggles in the postseason last year, but Grandal ranked as one of the best defensive catchers in 2018. HIs pitch-framing also ranked as the best in the entire league, which only boosts his value further.
However, Grandal is a tough player to sign. At 30-years old, he wants to cash in on a long-term deal before his chance fades away. Considering Ramos got a $19 million contract over the next two years, Grandal is likely to earn an even longer deal with a higher average salary. However, he is the type of player Eppler has hinted at investing in this entire offseason.
One downside of signing Grandal that is worth mentioning is the compensation the Angels would have to give up. Since he was offered a qualifying offer by the Dodgers, and declined, whoever signs Grandal will have to give up their second highest draft pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Considering Billy Eppler has been adamant about growing the farm system, that might slightly deter him when negotiating.
While they have struck out so far this offseason, Eppler is not giving up. Reports surfaced the Halos were also gauging the trade market on Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli. So, despite losing out on any impact free agent (sorry Justin Bour) they’ve pursued thus far, Eppler is trekking forward in his pursuit of building a contender.