One of the better stories from the 2018 season was the emergence of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers were aggressive in their attempts to become competitive in the NL Centrals with moves to bring in Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich during a time where a lot of clubs were rebuilding/saving money/not doing much which allowed them to gather enough talent to make a real playoff run last season.
Going into this offseason, the Brewers were not a team that had a ton of holes. One can quibble about their rotation, but with the bullpen strategies they employ that may not even be a huge need. They have very solid roster and were likely to be heavily in contention in the National League Central even if they did not make any big splashes.
Well....they made a big splash anyways.
#Brewers in agreement with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal on a one-year contract, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 10, 2019
Yasmani Grandal was, without question, the best catcher on the free agent market, but his market had been suppressed due not only to the qualify offer tag that he was saddled with, but also because of the existence of Wilson Ramos as a cheaper option on the free agent market and the ongoing J.T. Realmuto trade saga down in Miami. Other than a report that he turned down a four year deal worth $60 million from the Mets, there has been little talk about Grandal’s market. As it turns out, he only did slightly better than the qualifying offer he turned down.
Yasmani Grandal's one-year deal is for $18.25 million, source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2019
Grandal turned down the Dodgers’ qualifying offer of $17.9 million, so this deal gives him a little more than what he would have gotten had he stayed in LA. More importantly, this deal allows him to hit free agency next year without the QO tag which should (if he performs well) lead to more fruitful contract offers.
In 2018, Grandal posted a .241/.349/.466 line with 24 home runs in 140 games for the Dodgers. While his performance in the playoffs was less than ideal, he has established himself as one of the better catchers in the league over the last three seasons and has given the Brewers another boost as they look to repeat as division champs in 2019.