Reds rumors: Cincinnati Reds expected to pursue Yasmani Grandal

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: Yasmani Grandal #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a two run home run to score Trent Grisham #2 against Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in the National League Wild Card game at Nationals Park on October 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: Yasmani Grandal #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a two run home run to score Trent Grisham #2 against Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in the National League Wild Card game at Nationals Park on October 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The free agency period hasn’t started yet, but the Reds rumors have. Look for the Cincinnati Reds to be in the hunt for catcher Yasmani Grandal.

These latest Reds rumors should not come as a surprise, as the Cincinnati Reds were in pursuit of an upgrade to the catching position last offseason. Jon Heyman of MLB Network is reporting that Milwaukee Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal will draw huge interest in the free agent market this offseason and the Reds are likely to be in hot pursuit.

Last offseason, it was reported that the Reds were shopping Tucker Barnhart and looking to trade for then-Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. The talks cooled and eventually Realmuto went on to have a fantastic 2019 season for the Philadelphia Phillies.

However, the pursuit of Realmuto last offseason should clue Reds Country into the fact that the front office is not overly enamored with what they’ve seen recently from fan favorite Tucker Barnhart. While some folks may not want to hear that, there’s a reason for the front office to be a disgruntle.

The last two seasons, Barnhart has not performed up to the standard that he set in 2017. After winning the Gold Glove, Barnhart’s defensive play may not have slipped, but he’s certainly not putting up the offensive numbers we saw that season.

In 2017, Tucker slashed .270/.347/.403 with 24 doubles and 44 RBIs. Fast forward to 2018 and you’ll see a dip in Barnhart’s offensive statistics. Last season, the switch-hitting backstop hit just .248 and this season saw Barnhart’s average drop to .231. Barnhart’s on-base percentage the past two seasons has been stuck at .328, though we’ve seen an increase in his home runs.

But, when you compare Barnhart’s stats to that of Yasmani Grandal, you see a stark contrast. An All-Star this season, Grandal slashed .246/.380/.468 with 28 home runs 77 RBIs. During last night’s Wild Card Game, we saw Grandal’s power on full display as his two-run homer in the first inning put the Brewers on top 2-0.

Signing Grandal this offseason would be a big step in the Cincinnati Reds efforts to #GetTheHitting. Over the past five seasons, Grandal has been one of the better hitting catchers in the league, with an OPS+ of 114 and a .456 slugging percentage. Grandal also draws an enormous amount of walks with a BB% of 17.2. That’s approaching Joey Votto territory.

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Again, these latest Reds rumors should not come as much of a surprise. The question will be if the front office can compete with what it will take to land a player like Grandal. Last season, the 30-year-old catcher signed an $18.25M contract. His price will undoubtedly go up.