If the New York Mets are going to upgrade at catcher this offseason, they need to bring in Yasmani Grandal in free agency.
Throughout the last couple of seasons, the New York Mets have been trying to build their team around their starting rotation. If they want to stick to that philosophy in 2019, then whoever is the new general manager needs to address the catching position this winter.
With Travis d’Arnaud having Tommy John surgery last April and underachieving, Tomas Nido not ready to be an everyday catcher, and Kevin Plawecki as more of a platoon catcher, the Mets will need to upgrade behind the plate and there are plenty of free agents they can choose from.
One option that might fit in Flushing is current Los Angeles Dodgers’ catcher Yasmani Grandal. Grandal, who will turn 30 in November, has hit 20 or more home runs in each of the last three seasons and has had a combined 50 doubles in the last two years. His .815 OPS this year was one point shy of a career-high (.816 in 2016).
Grandal is one of the better offensive catchers in the National League and he would easily upgrade a position in the lineup for the Mets that struggled this past season. Mets catchers did have 17 home runs and 25 doubles. However, their collective .208 batting average was the third lowest in the National League.
If there is one issue that Grandal has, it is his defense. Those flaws showed up in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers when he had a pair of passed balls and a pair of errors. Grandal struggled with three passed balls in Game 3 as well. Last year, the switch-hitter led the league in passed balls with 16, but he cut that number nearly in half this year (nine).
In terms of throwing out runners, Grandal threw out 28 percent of runners trying to steal and his career high was 32 percent a season ago. That would be considered an upgrade on this team considering Plawecki and Devin Mesoraco had a caught stealing percent of 23 and 22 percent respectively.
Now, there isn’t a perfect solution for the Mets this winter behind the plate. However, Grandal is a catcher that has postseason experience, can hit the ball from both sides of the plate, he can manage a pitching staff, and he is one of the more patient hitters at his position in the league.
This year, Grandal drew 69 walks when he was in the lineup as a catcher. That is 17 more than the second highest at his position in the NL (Tucker Barnhart had 52). While he has over 100 strikeouts each of the last three seasons, the plate discipline is hard to find in this era of baseball at the position.
The Mets do have other needs to address this winter such as in the bullpen and at first base. If they choose to sign Grandal, it will only cost them money and not some of their top prospects. They may have to give him a three or four-year deal, but it will add more power to the lineup and finally give the team a reliable everyday catcher that can be penciled in for at least 120 games a season.