Padres’ Yasmani Grandal receives 50-game suspension


Yasmani Grandal won’t be eligible to return to the San Diego Padres until May 28. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy after testing positive for testosterone.

“I apologize to the fans, my teammates and to the San Diego Padres,” Grandal said in a statement. “I was disappointed to learn of my positive test and under the Joint Drug Program, I am responsible for what I put into my body. I must accept responsibility for my actions and serve my suspension.”

The rookie catcher was brought over in the blockbuster Mat Latos trade from the Reds, along with Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso and Brad Boxberger. Grandal received a promotion due to Nick Hundley‘s atrocious 2012 campaign, and lingering injuries that ultimately lead Hundley to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Grandal, 23, took his chance and ran with it upon his promotion, batting .297/.394/.469 with seven doubles, one triple, eight homers and 36 RBI in 192 at-bats. Grandal will not be eligible to play until May 28 against the Seattle Mariners.

The Padres now have to look back to Hundley, who agreed to terms on a three-year extension in March of last year. His aforementioned pathetic performance was surprising because it was so incredibly underwhelming. Hundley hit just .157 with three homers and 22 RBI in 58 games. In addition, he just looked completely lost, swinging at everything, psyched out and pressing.

It’s possible Hundley could regain some of his value by starting until Grandal is eligible. In that scenario, the Padres could possibly deal him when Grandal returns. In no way is Grandal’s suspension a blessing in disguise, but it could help the Padres move Hundley if he can get healthy and produce closer to his career peripherals. He has a fairly reasonable contract in a market with few attractive catchers.

In 2011, Hundley appeared to come into his own batting .288/.347/.477 with nine homers and 29 RBI in 289 at-bats, along with vastly improved defense to lead to his extension. In addition, the Padres have John Baker, who did a decent job for the Friars last year when Hundley went down, batting .238/.310/280 while handling the revolving door of pitchers, due to a plethora of injuries, that decimated the Padres organization. While Baker didn’t have the ideal offensive numbers, he was good for morale, and the pitchers seemed to like throwing to him. He’s known to be a good game-caller behind the dish.

Grandal’s suspension is very disappointing no matter how you spin it. It is terrible for the Padres (who seemed to get on a second have roll), the fans and baseball. I am not sure how you can quantify testosterone in correlation to performance enhancement, but you can quantify how awful this is for loyal fans, and the game we all love.

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  1. Grandal will be back May 28th. That’s not that long. I don’t see anyway Hagerty with his down year/injuries is on the depth chart above the aforementioned catchers.

  2. What about Hagerty? has his injury year last year made him disappear? If he’s recovered from the back injury, he could be a factor a year or so ahead of Hedges.

  3. Yeah, I’m not suggesting Hedges is close, only that it makes this burn a little less knowing there is another potential super star at the same position exceeding expectations.

    I just don’t see in a weak catching market the Padres netting a backstop that is head and shoulders an upgrade than Baker/Hundley combo. It’s possible sure, but likely? I doubt it.

    And I don’t see the Padres viewing Solis over Baker or Hundley. As I’m sure you know, one of the biggest parts of being a back-stop is getting comfortable with the pitching staff. Well, Baker has earned rave reviews for doing that, and I believe the money would be much better served elsewhere. And again, the FO seems to be echoing those same sentiments. We shall see.

  4. Hedges is the real deal, but he is far from ready for the varsity. It’s too bad the Padres didn’t protect Solis. If the right deal comes along for some added experience behind the dish, perhaps Byrnes might change his mind.Torrealba, who has already had one stint in San Diego, would be worth exploring.

    You’re right about emphasis on pitching, though. It only makes sense. Jackson is a horse who could really prosper at Petco. Good call. You’ve been busy lately with some informative posts, Mickey. Keep up the good work.

  5. The Front Office has already said they’re going into 2013 with Hundley and Baker. I don’t see that changing, nor do I see it being a necessity despite Hundley’s struggles.

    As for Grandal, I share your sediments. I am also glad the Padres do have Austin Hedges too. Just in case, because he could eventually be the better overall catcher anyway.

    I see the Padres focusing on pitching pitching pitching. They will try to go after a front of the rotation type pitcher, and probably a reclamation type project pitcher trying to build back his value.

    I could see Haren on a 1-year deal (barring health issues). And someone like Blanton to eat up innings. Although they’re looking at trade possibilities as well. The market is so thin, I would look for one FA, one via trade.

    I would really like to see them go in on Edwin Jackson, as another pitcher who has ties with the current Front Office and (while erratic at times) can be a guy to log many innings and be an ace on any given day.

    Thanks for the feedback, Steve.

  6. Extending Hundley was a waste of money, but it did lock him up with a “reasonable contract”, as you mentioned. The Padres could try to showcase Nick for a possible trade by letting him handle the catching chores after spring camp. But that would paint the team in a corner with little leverage if the gamble fails. I see San Diego signing one of the many veteran, free agent catchers as an insurance policy.

    As for Grandal, I’m deeply disappointed. Here’s a college educated kid with great family support, seemingly very mature and with loads of talent. This isn’t the end of the world for Yasmani and I still think he has a tremendous career ahead of him. But somewhere along the line, Grandal got some bad advise and now he has the difficult task of correcting this mistake with all the fans who believed in him.

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