Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Padres are getting a “ton of inquiries” on all three of their catchers: Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, and Austin Hedges. The free agent market for catchers, particularly with Russell Martin out of the picture, is rather weak and the Padres could look to capitalize.
Grandal, 25, was productive in his first full season, batting .225/.327/.401 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI in 443 plate appearances. He spent most of his time behind the dish, but also played some first base. When he was catching, he had trouble halting the running game, as he only threw out seven of 56 runners (12.5%).
Rivera, 31, was comparatively better all-around. He hit .252/.319/.432 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 329 plate appearances while nabbing 36 percent of runners.
Hedges, 22, was a consensus top prospect entering the 2014 season. He hit .225/.268/.321 with six home runs and 44 RBI in 457 plate appearances in his first full season at Double-A San Antonio.
The Cleveland Indians have either traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers or are on the verge of doing so. Jon Heyman says the deal is done. Others are reporting that it’s close. It is not clear yet what the Indians will be receiving in return in what seems like an inevitable transaction.
Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.
Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.
Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.