Something unusual happened late Wednesday night. A contending MLB teamactually made an attempt to improve. There hasn't been much of that this offseason (or even last offseason) as clubs continue to freeze out veteran players and free agents. It was refreshing.
Wednesday night the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a one-year catcher with switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal, who gets $18.25 million guaranteed. That is slightly more than the $17.9 million qualifying offer he rejected earlier this winter. Grandal passes Ryan Braun ($18 million) to become the club's highest paid player in 2019.
Realistically, signing Grandal was the single biggest upgrade the Brewers could've made this offseason. The Manny Pina/Erik Kratz tandem held their own last season, but Grandal is one of the most productive catchers in the game thanks to his power and pitch-framing ability. Check out the 2019 Steamer projections:
Pina and Kratz combined: 0.4 WAR
Grandal by himself: 3.1 WAR
Grandal is a significant upgrade for a ballclub that won 96 games and went to Game 7 of the NLCS a year ago, but also needed to play a Game 163 tiebreaker to get their division title. The Cubs are still formidable and both the Cardinals and Reds have improved. The NL Central could be the sport's toughest division in 2019, so every win matters, and the Brewers just added several at catcher.
Milwaukee is not done, however. Almost certainly not, anyway. Remember, it wasn't until January 25 last offseason that GM David Stearns made his two blockbuster moves, signing Lorenzo Cain and trading for Christian Yelich within the span of a few hours. I'd bet the farm on Stearns pulling another move or two out of his hat before spring training begins.
Truth be told, the Brewers don't have many clear areas of weakness now that they've addressed the catcher position. There is always room for improvement, don't get me wrong. Milwaukee just has fewer obvious holes than most.