How to read into the Angels pursuit of Yasmani Grandal
The Los Angeles Angels are running out of time with Mike Trout, but they are making an effort in free agency.
It appears the Los Angeles Angels are making an effort to be competitive during the last years of Mike Trout’s contract. The question is, will pursuing Yasmani Grandal be a big enough splash?
Many fans and analysts have been assuming that Trout will head to either Philadelphia or New York when his contract is up in two years. Taking advantage of his final years, even if he doesn’t re-sign, are critical to the future of the Angels franchise. The Halos have only played in three playoff games with the future Hall of Famer, which was a sweep by the Kansas City Royals. With little to no immediate help in the farm system, the club needs to augment him with free agent signings.
The Angels’ catching tandem at the moment is Jose Briceno and Kevan Smith, not very exciting. Neither catcher has that much offensive upside, and their defense is mediocre.
If Grandal is signed, the Angels would be getting a player who will potentially hit 20 home runs and play above average defense. Over the past three seasons, he has hit 73 home runs. Yes, he had a terrible showing behind the plate in the playoffs, but that could’ve been due to overworking him. He had a 9.0 Def metric in 2018, which translates his defense to above average.
He is a player who has worked with one of the most consistent pitching staffs in baseball(when healthy) with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Grandal has been one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, and his defense is up there as well. He should cost upwards of $18 million per year. My estimate is a 4-year/$80 million contract, considering he is 30 years old. That is an easy number for the Angels, who usually open their checkbooks for the right move. If the Angels did sign Grandal, that should be a domino effect for other moves.
A transaction to follow could be the signing of a starting pitcher. They were in on both Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi, so there’s no doubt that they’re interested in Keuchel. Another area of need as much as any other is the bullpen. There are plenty of free agent bullpen arms to grab, including Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, or maybe Craig Kimbrel. Those are just the bigger guys, but others like Cody Allen and A.J. Ramos are in a more reasonable price range.
If the Angels are actually serious about the Mike Trout window and life without him, signing Grandal and free agent pitching is the way to go. That would put them in the AL West race along with the defending champion Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics. Who knows, if they do this, Mike Trout might want to sign with them long term. The Astros rotation is questionable right now, the A’s don’t even have a rotation, so the Angels time to take advantage is now.