With Endy Rodriguez suffering a season-ending elbow injury in the offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly filled his spot with two-time All-Star Yasmani Grandal on Sunday.
Grandal, 35, spent the past four seasons with the Chicago White Sox and posted a collective .226/.343/.375 with 44 home runs and 149 RBI. Across 12 MLB seasons, Grandal hit .237 with 185 home runs.
Grandal will likely be the team’s backup behind former first overall pick Henry Davis, with Jason Delay and Ali Sanchez acting as the team’s third and fourth options. It does, however, seem like a move that would’ve made sense between 2020 and 2022.
It’s an unpopular opinion but I liked Yasmani Grandal. He was good when the Sox were good. Last 2 years were rough but it is what it is. Hope he succeeds in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/J6JGHxTi8B— Mike (@ChiSoxFanMike) February 12, 2024
MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa cited Grandal’s significant decline over the past few seasons, especially on defense. Randhawa said between 2012-21, Grandal was one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, accruing 74 defensive runs saved, but that number took a drastic dip after, coming in at -16 between 2021 and now.
While the numbers aren’t impressive, the Pirates needed to do something to fill the gap behind the dish, especially after missing out on Gary Sanchez who signed with the Milwaukee Brewers less than a week ago.
Grandal also plays into the veteran leadership role that the Pirates have focused on in recent memory and could possibly be a good mentor for Davis. If he can show anything that remotely resembles his prime and put a few baseballs into the Allegheny River, it’ll be worth it.
The team has not formally announced the deal but it’s rumored to be worth $2.5 million with incentives. Expect the signing to be announced Wednesday when players can be put on the 60-day injured list, freeing up roster spots.