On November 21st, Yasmani Grandal signed a 4-year, $73 million dollar deal to play for the Chicago White Sox. This left Manny Pina as the only capable option behind the dish for the Brewers. Now, don’t get me wrong, Pina is a great defensive catcher but offensively, there’s a lot more to want. He’s at his best when he’s a platoon option. If Pina was the number one option going into 2020, the Brewers would have been struggling mightily to get production out of the catcher position. Luckily, on Thursday morning, the Brewers traded for catcher, Omar Narvaez. The Brewers traded Adam Hill who was Milwaukee’s 24th ranked prospect and a conditional 2020 pick. The Brewers essentially stole one of the best offensive catchers in the league for a player who may never play in the majors.
Omar Narvaez played 132 games last season for the Mariners, his first year playing over 97 games in his career, and he hit 22 homers with 55 RBIs while batting .278. He was 8th among all catchers in home runs, 6th in hits, and 5th in runs scored. He had a higher WAR than other catchers like Buster Posey, Wilson Ramos, and Travis d’Arnaud. Narvaez is a left handed hitting catcher so he should be able to platoon nicely with Manny Pina. Narvaez struggled hitting against lefties last season but against righties, he hit .289 with an OPS of .836.
Narvaez’s biggest weakness, however, is his defense. In 2018, he allowed the 4th most passed balls in the AL, had the 3rd most errors, and allowed the 2nd most stolen bases. 2019 wasn’t much better for Narvaez defensively as he had the 4th most errors as a catcher in the AL and allowed the most stolen bases. It’s a good thing the Brewers have a history of developing catchers into good defenders.
Narvaez isn’t perfect, but neither was Grandal. With Narvaez, the Brewers are getting a very good offensive catcher who can hit great off right handed pitchers. Sure, he has things to work on defensively but Milwaukee still has a wall in Manny Pina. The Brewers made a great trade acquiring Narvaez and this move should give fans hope moving forward throughout this offseason.