LAS VEGAS — When the White Sox traded Omar Narvaez, it looked like adding another catcher to the mix was added to the offseason to-do list.
Now, they could be surprising with the type of catcher they're reportedly looking into.
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the White Sox are "looking at" free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, one of the best all-around catchers in the game.
The White Sox pushing to take a step forward in 2019. Nova improves the rotation, and they're looking at Yasmani Grandal as a possible catching upgrade.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 11, 2018
That sure would be an interesting move by the South Siders, who currently have just one catcher with big league experience heading into 2019: Welington Castillo. They still have a lot of faith in catching prospects Zack Collins and Seby Zavala, who are both expected to play at Triple-A Charlotte next season.
But Grandal figures to receive a multi-year deal, setting him up as a long-term solution behind the plate for whichever team ends up with him.
Grandal doesn't hit for a high average, but like Collins, he puts up gaudy on-base percentages. In 2018, his second straight season that ended in a trip to the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he slashed .241/.349/.466 with 24 home runs, the most by a catcher in all of baseball. Grandal was a National League All Star in 2015 and received MVP votes in 2016 after he hit a career-best 27 home runs that season.
Grandal is also great defensively, ranking second among qualified catchers in Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, with 9, better than Willson Contreras and J.T. Realmuto. His 1,037.1 innings behind the plate ranked third among catchers last season.
Grandal would be an obvious upgrade at catcher for the White Sox, and at 30, he would figure to fit into their long-term plans. But what would such an addition say about the long-term future of Collins and Zavala? Particularly Collins, the 2016 first-round draft pick who has had questions about his defense in the past?
Just some more simmering on the Hot Stove.
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