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Collusion? Confusion

Yasmani Grandal had four multiyear offers, including one from the White Sox. Does that trip up this offseason’s conspiracy theories?

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MLB: Yasmani Grandal Press Conference
Christmas in January: Brewers GM David Stearns was aggressive, and lucky, in getting Yasmani Grandal for a song.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

We learned on Wednesday that Yasmani Grandal had four multiyear offers — and still chose to sign for one season and $16 million (the mutual option for 2020 is highly unlikely to happen) with the NLCS-losing Milwaukee Brewers.

Robert Murray at The Athletic (linked above, sub required) reports that the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Angels, and ... White Sox (!) all offered Grandal multiyear deals. A month ago, rumor had it that the Mets had thrown four years, $60 million at Grandal — and he turned it down. (There’s no information indicating that the other three teams offered longer/more lucrative, or even equal deals ... presumably at least one or two among the Twins, Sox and Angels pushed a two- or three-year contract in front of Grandal.)

The lede buried here is a reminder that in a strict and ever-stricter free agency climate, Grandal turned down $60 million over four years, offering as he signed with Milwaukee that “one of my responsibilities as a player is also to respect the guys going through this process before me like Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina ... these are guys who have established a market and pay levels for a particular tier of catchers like myself. I felt l would be doing a disservice taking some of the deals that were offered, even though they were slightly more long term. I wanted to keep the line moving and set a bar for the younger guys coming up.”

But, at risk of the wrath of onlysoxfaninboston, what bar is being set with Grandal’s decision?

If we are to believe that the Mets indeed set Grandal’s market value at $15 million per year and he rejected their overtures, we can assume Grandal believed he was worth more than that, and even more than $16 million (what he signed for with the Brewers; it’s a safe assumption that Grandal didn’t settle, even for one year, for the exact amount he felt he was due).

Let’s say Grandal was looking at $18 million per over five years, a nice, round, $90 million. OK. From that perspective, taking a $50 million deal sees Grandal selling himself, in his likely last dab at the big dough, at almost half-off, minus a year to boot. That’s disappointing.

But it’s ballsiness of the highest order to dive right into the 2019 season, risking injury, slump, even (hi, Jon Lucroy) roll-credits-on-career level badness. Grandal decided he’d take a chance at reclaiming his $90 million with a dynamite, World Series-winning season in Milwaukee in 2019, leaving him $40 million ahead.

But, on the flip side, a career-ending injury or Lucroy-level slump puts Grandal $32 million (2020 comes with a $2.25 mil buyout) behind.

Kudos to Grandal if he wanted to join team on the cusp — none of his four multiyear suitors could be regarded as such — and would not be bought and brought onto a loser. That stance certainly runs against the big payday chasers (who you could hardly blame ... bias aside, if the White Sox offer Manny Machado 8/250 and the Yankees offer 5/125, I’d absorb some losses for a couple of seasons, for sure).

Hate that you’re not on the South Side, but cap-tip, Yaz, for betting big on yourself.

Obviously, this new tweak in the Grandal story — I believe it’s fresh news that three teams besides the Mets were identified as bidders — doesn’t completely undermine a second straight offseason of free agency collusion. But it tosses a wrench in the works.

And if Machado takes a one-year, $28 million deal with the Yankees, this site might collapse on itself.