Heyman: Grandal to opt out, hit free agency

Joe Zenzola
October 31, 2019 - 4:49 pm


Those are primed to be the words that define Yasmani Grandal's days as a Milwaukee Brewer.

The switch-hitting backstop with an All-Star pedigree joined the Brewers on a prove-it deal just weeks before pitchers and catchers reported to 2019 Spring Training. As expected, he'll reportedly opt-out of the second year of that deal and become a free agent, according to Radio.com Sports insider Jon Heyman.

Grandal slugged .468 with 28 home runs (career high) and 77 RBI (career high); he posted a .380 on-base percentage 109 walks (career high) -- second most in the National League behind the Phillies' Rhys Hoskins. He was also one of five Brewers to make the 2019 N.L. All-Star team. Translation: It was the type of season that likely priced him out of a return to Milwaukee, MLB's smallest market.

Grandal will likely suit up with a fourth big-league team, but could return to a familiar organization. The Reds, the organization that drafted Grandal in 2010, could be in the mix. Grandal was traded by the Reds to the Padres in 2011 and made his big-league debut in 2012.

What's next?

Under the assumption that Grandal doesn't ink a long-term deal with the Crew, catcher immediately becomes a top priority for President of Baseball Operations David Stearns.

Manny Pina currently stands as the only Brewers catcher with qualified MLB service time under team control for 2020. Jacob Nottingham, whose rookie status remained intact through 2019 due to service time, is also under team control. The organization also has two catching prospects in their Top 30 according to MLB Pipeline: Mario Feliciano (No. 8 of 30) and Payton Henry (No. 15 of 30). Neither prospect has advanced beyond Double-A Biloxi. 

Along with Grandal, 17 experienced catchers are expected to hit the free agent market. Among them, former Brewers Jonathan Lucroy and 2019 World Series runner-up Martin Maldonado.

Other names of note include: 2019 World Series champion Yan Gomes, veteran Robinson Chirinos (also a 2019 World Series runner-up); former Silver Slugger, Gold Glover and four-time All-Star Russell Martin; former All-Star and Silver Slugger Alex Avila; former All-Star Jason Castro; and former World Series champion Francisco Cervelli. Of note, none of the prospective free agents are under the age of 31 -- including Grandal.