Former Reds prospect returns to NL Central as deal with Pirates becomes official

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Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal
Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds will receive numerous visits in 2024 from a familiar face. Robert Murray of FanSided reported on Sunday that Yasmani Grandal was close to signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alex Stumpf of has confirmed that Grandal has officially signed a one-year deal with the Buccos and will be returning to his NL Central roots.

Grandal was, at one time, a highly-touted prospect within the Reds farm system. There was intense internal discussion among the Reds executives about who to keep over the long haul - Grandal or Devin Mesoraco?

The decision was eventually made to allow Mesoraco to become the team's catcher of the future. Grandal was later part of a trade package that brought Mat Latos to the Queen City. Mesoraco's injury-plagued career would give way to Tucker Barnhart taking over behind the plate for the Reds while Grandal has enjoyed a long, yet turbulent major league career.

Former Reds prospect returns to NL Central as deal with Pirates becomes official

After being traded to the San Diego Padres, Grandal broke into the league with the Friars, but didn't find success until playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Grandal was traded to LA prior to the 2015 season, and wound up being an All-Star during his first year with the Dodgers. After a four-year stint in Hollywood, Grandal became a free agent and joined another NL Central team in 2019.

Grandal signed a massive one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, then opted out of his deal in order to sign a mega-contract with the Chicago White Sox the following offseason. The Reds were rumored at the time to have interest in bringing Grandal back to Cincinnati, but the backstop inked four-year, $73 million deal with the South Siders.

Unfortunately for Grandal, his success from 2019 that saw him collect a second All-Star nod did not carry over to the Windy City. During four years in Chicago, Grandal played in just 356 games while posting a .718 OPS.

Yasmani Grandal has also seen his production behind the plate deteriorate over the years. The 35-year-old is among the worst in the league in terms of pop time and throwing out would-be runners according to Baseball Savant. Grandal is also one of the slowest players in all of baseball.

The Pirates lost Endy Rodriguez for the 2024 season following Tommy John surgery, and there are still major concerns with former first-round pick Henry Davis as well. The former Reds prospect will add a veteran presence behind the dish for Pittsburgh during the upcoming season, and Cincinnati will see their former backstop visit his old stomping ground multiple times in 2024.