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Inbox: What should fans expect from Grandal?

Beat reporter Adam McCalvy fields questions from Crew fans
January 12, 2019

Since 2015, the highest workload catcher under Craig Counsell has averaged 736 innings per year (Manny Pina: 743 innings in 2018). Yasmani Grandal has been a workhorse the past two years -- 1,000+ innings behind the dish in each of his past two seasons. What do you expect his workload

Since 2015, the highest workload catcher under Craig Counsell has averaged 736 innings per year (Manny Pina: 743 innings in 2018). Yasmani Grandal has been a workhorse the past two years -- 1,000+ innings behind the dish in each of his past two seasons. What do you expect his workload to look like in 2019?
-- @ZacZiebarth on Twitter

I would expect the switch-hitting, 30-year-old Grandal to play virtually every day, and would attribute the shared innings under Counsell more to circumstances than to a philosophy about the position. In 2015, when Counsell took over as manager, Jonathan Lucroy missed significant time with a fractured toe on his left foot. In '16, Lucroy was traded (twice, if you remember). That offseason, Martin Maldonado was traded, too, in return for Jett Bandy, who was unable to secure the job during a '17 season in which Stephen Vogt was brought in to platoon with Pina. Then Vogt got hurt last spring, Bandy was designated for assignment in May and Erik Kratz was brought in to split time with Pina.
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Had there been a Grandal-caliber catcher at Counsell's disposal for the duration of any one of those seasons, he probably would have played regularly. Grandal represents a significant upgrade at the position, as we wrote when news of his one-year deal broke.

To be determined. We have heard some rumblings about trade interest in Pina, and that obviously becomes more doable with Grandal in the fold. But it's also quite possible that the Brewers go to Spring Training with all four of these catchers and push the decision to a later date. Jacob Nottingham still has options, and while Pina's $1.6 million salary is guaranteed, all but $300,000 of Kratz's contract is non-guaranteed. Keeping all of them would provide insurance in the event someone, I don't know, steps on a cactus.

Interesting idea. It can't hurt, although I would give Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen & Co. some credit for those pitching numbers as well. Where Grandal excels is pitch framing, as my colleague David Adler wrote in November. If you're interested in a deep dive into that topic, I highly suggest giving that story a look.

I departed the prediction business the year I predicted on Opening Day that Matt Garza would throw a no-hitter for the Brewers, and instead he was sent home before the end of the season. But assuming Grandal stays healthy, I would take the over on his 24 home runs last season with the Dodgers. Think about some of the left-handed hitters with pop who have been acquired by general manager David Stearns in recent years: Travis Shaw, Eric Thames, Christian Yelich. All topped 30 homers while playing home games at Miller Park.

It's so hard to guess from the outside. All I can say is that MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported the initial talks had San Francisco asking for one of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes or Freddy Peralta to be involved. Color me skeptical that the Brewers would trade five or six years of control of one of those three MLB-caliber pitchers for one year of Bumgarner. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong.
As for Joe Panik, he could certainly fit at second base for the Brewers. Two years of control. Bounce-back candidate. And, yes, a left-handed hitter. One potential snag: High on the Giants' wish list is an outfielder, and the Brewers already traded away Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton.

Unfortunately for Brett and many other readers who were on the Jed Lowrie train, he agreed to terms Thursday afternoon with the Mets. The terms, per our Mark Feinsand: Two years, $20 million. And that was the rub all along; he's not exactly a stopgap. With Keston Hiura and Mauricio Dubon coming, and the likes of Shaw controllable for three more years, it seems more likely that the Brewers wait out a one-year deal with another player left on the market. We looked into that a bit on Thursday.

Yes. But playing everywhere comes at a cost in today's game, both in terms of dollars and, just as significantly, years. I'm not so sure the Brewers would be willing to make a long-term commitment to Marwin Gonzalez, a Scott Boras client.
On to some quality bonus content:

"From my perspective, I think just having this facility, how proud we are to be able to host Hall of Fame entertainers like Billy in a baseball stadium, in a great venue. Singing with your friends, with 40,000 other friends, is really an incredible experience.
"One of my first cassettes, which is going to state my age -- and I probably bought it because I loved the artwork on '52nd Street,' the album. When I was asked to do this, the first thing I thought about was 52nd Street and 'Big Shot,' 'My Life,' 'Honesty,' 'Rosalinda's Eyes.' It was just a great album and I still remember it. I've actually been listening to it the last couple of days because of this. Billy's got such a great songbook, and I'm sure will put on a tremendous show.
"And I also think of Billy as playing baseball stadiums. Especially New York: Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. To bring him to Miller Park is a true thrill for all of us."
A true thrill, indeed. Counsell won two World Series rings, but that minute and a half on Billy Joel might be his most masterful performance yet.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.