Yasmani Grandal is a National League All-Star. By the way that FanGraphs measures Wins Above Replacement, he leads all catchers in that category ahead of fellow All-Stars such as J.T. Realmuto, Willson Contreras and Gary Sanchez.
And in another sign of how their offseason and, thus, regular season has gone wrong, the Mets nearly had Grandal. He rejected a deal believed to be four years at $60 million in December. At that point, unable to land Realmuto from Miami in a trade and feeling Grandal out of their price range, the Mets quickly pivoted to Wilson Ramos for two years at $19 million, concerned they would be shut out for any catcher they were prioritizing.
Ramos ranks 35th among catchers in WAR, mainly because of problematic defense, namely framing, and Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have indicated they would prefer to throw to backup Tomas Nido.
“I did think [signing with the Mets] was going to happen,” said Grandal, who has 19 homers, an .897 OPS and strong defensive metrics for the Brewers. “We had a really good conversation, Brodie [Van Wagenen] and I. We met. I think the meeting went great. Both sides were on the same page. We just couldn’t come to terms.”
Grandal ended up a financial loser — signing a one-year, $18.25 million contract in January when it became clear no team would approach the five-year catching pacts signed a few years earlier by Russell Martin ($82 million) and Brian McCann ($85 million). Grandal’s current deal has a mutual option for $16 million in 2020. Which means Grandal can reject it and be a free agent again.
So the Mets might get another crack, especially if they find somewhere to move Ramos.
“I think both sides wanted to be together, but it wasn’t the right time,” Grandal said. “You never know, you have another offseason in which it could happen. Everything happens for a reason. I believe in that. I am here because that didn’t happen. It was crazy. They were definitely the front-runner. They were pushing really hard. We were just too far apart.”