Pirates land veteran backstop Grandal on 1-year deal

February 14th, 2024

The Pirates and veteran catcher are in agreement on a one-year contract, the Pirates announced on Wednesday. The team also announced the signing of left-hander on a one-year deal.

Grandal, 35, was one of the best backstops in baseball during the first 10 seasons of his career -- from 2012-21, he posted an .807 OPS with 172 home runs at the plate, and his 74 Defensive Runs Saved behind the plate ranked behind only Buster Posey, Yadier Molina and Roberto Pérez among all MLB catchers.

Over the past two seasons, however, Grandal’s performance both at the plate and behind it declined significantly. From 2022-23, he hit .219/.305/.306 with 13 homers over 781 plate appearances, and he had -16 DRS over that period.

The Pirates’ catching corps featured Endy Rodríguez (23 years old), Jason Delay (28) and 2021 first overall Draft pick Henry Davis (24). With Rodríguez out for the 2024 campaign following Tommy John surgery, the catching depth was thinner and remained relatively inexperienced.

Grandal, despite his struggles the past couple of seasons, provides a veteran presence at the position, and the Bucs will hope a change of scenery helps him bounce back in terms of his production.