As the MLB winter meetings roll along, the San Diego Padres remain in the hunt for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
National writers have described the San Diego Padres as “aggressive” and involved with every player possible while in Las Vegas for this week’s winter meetings. From Marwin Gonzalez to Sonny Gray, Yusei Kikuchi, and Bryce Harper, Padres fans have heard all of the rumors and speculation, but many fans aren’t holding out high hopes for a winter frenzy.
While it could end up being another fairly quiet winter meeting trip for AJ Preller and company, the organization still remains in contention for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. The New York Mets are still “very aggressive” (as Jon Heyman points out in the linked tweet) and a potential three-team trade between the Mets, Yankees, and Marlins is being discussed, but Jon Heyman also states that the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Padres remain among the front-runners.
There haven’t been any public statements about what exactly the Marlins are asking for from San Diego, but the organization clearly possesses any pieces necessary to make a deal happen.
Initially, this move seemed like a real head-scratcher. The Padres already have Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia on the active roster, with Austin Allen sitting in the upper-minors, nearly major league ready. However, after sitting on this and reading the constant stream of discussion involving Realmuto, the idea of this move becomes much more exciting.
Realmuto is not just one of the top producing catchers in baseball, but one of the top offensive producers in all of Major League Baseball. The Padres lineup is full of hitters with potential upside (Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Manuel Margot) and veterans who we still aren’t sure about (Wil Myers, Hedges), but there isn’t a bat with a proven track record in this order (where do we place Eric Hosmer among these choices?).
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The idea of moving numerous top prospects for Realmuto and his two years of control isn’t ideal, however, the interest in the league’s top catcher won’t wane over the course of the next year, meaning the Padres have one of the bigger trade chips in baseball in their pocket, ready to pull out and use when they have a better idea of what more of these top prospects have in the bigs (Logan Allen, Chris Paddack, Fernando Tatis Jr. Luis Urias, etc) and exactly what pieces are needed to make a move in 2020.
In the meantime, the Padres could package Hedges or Mejia and prospects to acquire a front of the rotation pitcher, something that has been at the top of the team’s needs list this offseason. Looking ahead to 2020, that leaves the Padres with either Hedges or Mejia, Austin Allen and at least one other prospect catcher (Luis Campusano?) on the roster, a big name starting pitcher, and whatever the team can get for Realmuto, ideally a large, major league ready return. If the window for contention is going to open soon, something needs to be done to start moving the needle.
What’s your opinion, Padres fans? Convince me that the Padres should or should not pursue Realmuto, aggressively. I’m truly sitting on the fence on this one.