There have been a few updates on the J.T. Realmuto trade discussions since the Winter Meetings. Are the San Diego Padres still in the mix?
Are the San Diego Padres still serious contenders for acquiring Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto? The odds aren’t very high, however, San Diego remains in the mix for the All-Star catcher. A few teams are falling out of the running, like the New York Mets, but a new team has entered the picture and might just have the package and willingness to land Realmuto.
Here’s what we do know, as of Tuesday afternoon. Calling the Houston Astros a new team in the mix isn’t the correct terminology, but they did seem to get a surge of momentum after the team signed free-agent outfielder Michael Brantly to a two-year/$32 million deal this week.
How does that impact a deal for J.T. Realmuto? Per, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the Astros could now use their top prospect (#5 overall), outfielder Kyle Tucker, as a major piece in a potential deal. The asking price for Realmuto has remained high and while the Astros could be willing to part with an elite prospect, the San Diego Padres aren’t.
Talk of a potential three-way deal for Realmuto between Miami, the Mets, and the Yankees (also Mets, Marlins, Padres) is now dead. The Mets went out and signed Wilson Ramos, taking them out of the running for Realmuto. This is just another sign that New York will not deal Noah Syndergaard and they are all in on 2019. Let’s be real here though, the Mets are just going to Mets and finish behind at least the Braves and Nationals.
Outside of New York, Atlanta appeared to be a frontrunner in the race for Realmuto, however, there have been conflicting reports this week of the Braves’ involvement, with one side saying a deal is all but dead and another side saying there is still a possibility for Atlanta.
Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Tampa Bay have all been connected in some way to Realmuto and are all in need of catching help. If we have to handicap a frontrunner at the moment, it could be the Los Angeles Dodgers.
LA has two of the top catching prospects in the game, including Keibert Ruiz (39th overall prospect), still has interest in bringing back Yasmani Grandal on a one-year deal, and isn’t willing to budge on the current demands from Miami. The longer this ordeal drags out, the more likely it is that LA brings back Grandal, but the Marlins are reportedly ready to make a deal happen immediately.
Reports out of Miami suggest that the organization wants to complete a deal in the very near future. Frisaro points out that the Marlins would like to have a trade completed by Christmas, meaning a deal by the end of this week as teams take time off for the holiday.
There hasn’t been any concrete news of San Diego ramping up their efforts for Realmuto, only that his two years of control aren’t ideal for how the Padres want to attack the offseason. The below excerpt is from Dennis Lin’s piece on the Padres winter meetings ($).
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"The Padres are still in the picture for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, the top trade target at the Meetings, but the fact that he is under control for only two more seasons remains a significant hurdle. Sources indicate that, before landing a player like Realmuto, the Padres would have to feel comfortable that they can extend their control for at least two additional seasons (through 2022)."
Money shouldn’t be an issue, with the Padres having one of the lowest payrolls in the league, should Realmuto want to sign a long-term deal with San Diego. Austin Hedges may have been one of the more productive catchers in the second half of the season, but as much as Andy Green sings his praises, Hedges is a career .210 hitter with a career .258 OBP. If the Padres are able to bring in Realmuto, is there a reason to complain?
At the end of the day, don’t be shocked to see Realmuto wearing Dodger blue on Opening Day 2019. They have the prospects to make the move and fits perfectly into their window as they can let him walk once his contract is up and replace him with Ruiz, a prospect the team is very excited about having behind the plate for years to come.