The Dodgers did not fight to keep Yasmani Grandal last year. How this works out for the Dodgers remains to be seen: Austin Barnes, who replaced Grandal at catcher, lost his job to rookie Will Smith, who hit .175 in September and .077 in the playoffs.
For Smith, a former first-round pick who hit 15 home runs in 54 games and came within a few feet of a home run that would have won the division series for the Dodgers, there is hope and upside.
For Grandal, there is cash, and lots of it. The Chicago White Sox on Thursday signed Grandal to a four-year contract worth $73 million.
The White Sox last played in the postseason in 2008, last produced a winning record in 2012, and tried so hard to sign Manny Machado last winter that they signed his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso. They tore down their roster by trading Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton in 2016-17, and the White Sox need to deliver on the promise of tanking for a better tomorrow.
Grandal, 31, hit 25 home runs and posted an .864 OPS with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, both tops among major league catchers with at least 400 plate appearances. He also ranks highly in framing metrics. He finished 15th in National League MVP voting, tied with Max Muncy of the Dodgers, Stephen Strasburg of the World Series champion Washington Nationals and Eugenio Suarez of the Cincinnati Reds.
Grandal got paid better as he turned another year older, an impressive turn of events in this analytic age. He turned down a four-year, $60-million offer from the New York Mets last winter, instead accepting a one-year, $18-million contract from the Brewers.
He was tagged with a qualifying offer last winter, and the Dodgers selected Texas high school pitcher Jimmy Lewis with the compensatory pick for losing Grandal. Players can only be tagged with a qualifying offer once in their career, so the Brewers will not receive a compensatory pick.