Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal has not lived up to the contract which made him the highest-paid player in team history when he signed the deal back in 2019.
Despite being a solid on-base percentage player who has hit for power in the past, his defense has been a liability and his inability to stay healthy has been a problem.
Grandal has not caught more than 80 games in each of the last two seasons, thus putting the team in a position to have to rely on backups for a good portion of each year.
Seby Zavala performed more than admirably last year when he hit .270 and did a nice job behind the plate with a .996 fielding percentage over 448.2 innings of work. Despite his performance, Zavala doesn't project out to be a guy who can be an everyday catcher.
The Chicago White Sox desperately need some help at catcher.
Carlos Perez got into seven games in 2022 and hit .222 over that time. At 26 years of age, Perez is still young and could provide some pop with the bat after hitting 21 homers in the minors last year. However, he is still a work in progress.
The team can certainly use an upgrade at the position. Grandal will be a free agent heading into 2024 and will be 35 years old when that season begins. According to spotrac.com, Grandal is owed $18.25 million this year which would make him very tough to move.
The White Sox can ill afford to bank on Grandal being healthy for most of the season and expect new manager Pedro Grifol to help him dramatically improve defensively. Zavala proved to be a valuable backup but he can't be counted on to carry a heavy load of the catching duties if needed.
The free agent market may not yield much now that top players such as Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez have signed elsewhere. Players such as Gary Sanchez, Jorge Alfaro, Roberto Perez, Dom Nunez, and Kevin Plawecki are still available.
The trade market saw a couple of up-and-coming players in Sean Murphy and William Contreras get moved in a three-way deal that saw Murphy end up in Atlanta while Contreras went to Milwaukee.
Former White Sox catcher James McCann was the latest catcher to be traded as he went from the New York Mets to the Baltimore Orioles.
One team that has a good stable of catchers is the Toronto Blue Jays. Alejandro Kirk is coming off an All-Star appearance, a Silver Slugger Award and is under team control until 2026.
Danny Jansen was Kirk's backup and belted 15 home runs and 10 doubles in 215 at-bats. He is second-year arbitration eligible and not set to hit free agency until 2025.
The team just moved its top minor league prospect (number three overall according to Baseball America) in catcher Gabriel Moreno to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As it stands right now, the Blue Jays seem content with their lineup but that could change. The only way to find out is to contact the club to find out what they might need. It would do the White Sox well to look at every team's roster to find a capable everyday catcher.
The White Sox's signing of free agent Andrew Benintendi to take over in left field was a nice move to help the team but this is a club that also needs help at several other positions such as second base and catcher.
General manager Rick Hahn talked about going into the trade market to improve the roster but to date, little of substance has been done along that track.
Hahn said the team needs to be "open-minded" about making big moves to get the team to where it needs to be. That open-mindedness has to include looking into moving top players off the current roster.
It takes two to tango and the White Sox have to be willing to part with what they see as quality to get quality back.