Yasmani Grandal was the Dodgers starting catcher for most of the 2017 season. You wouldn’t have known that, however, if you just started following them during the postseason, when Austin Barnes got almost all of the reps behind the plate and Grandal lodged only 11 plate appearances all October long. That dynamic, it seems, will carry over into 2018 as well, Jon Morosi reports. He says that the Dodgers are willing to trade Grandal this offseason.
Some of this is likely Dave Roberts’ confidence in Barnes, who put up a strong line of .289/.408/.486 as a backup in 262 plate appearances during the regular season (he was only 10-for-46 in the postseason). Some of it, though, could be based on the fact that Grandal entering arbitration and looking for a raise over his $5.5 million salary. Which is actually not bad for a catcher who hit 22 homers and posted a 100 OPS+ while playing solid defense.
Tomorrow is the non-tender trade deadline, so the Dodgers are understandably sending out feelers to see if some team will give up something good for Grandal before the Dodgers have to decide whether to tender Grandal a contract. Any club looking to add Grandal, however, would no doubt prefer to wait until after tomorrow to see if there is any chance they can sign him as a free agent, which he would be if he were non-tendered by L.A., as opposed to having to give up talent to acquire him.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.