The Miami Marlins have been soliciting offers for all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto for almost a calendar year now.
Soon after the Miami Marlins decided to restock their minor league cupboard with prospects for established players Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto made their desire to get traded away public. Yelich was quickly sent to the Milwaukee Brewers for prospects Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz, and Jordan Yamamoto. Realmuto, they held onto for the 2018 campaign.
And Realmuto did not disappoint us. In his fourth full major league season, he set career-highs with 21 home runs and 74 RBI, despite a career-low 125 games (not counting an 11-game look in 2014). Realmuto also slashed .279/.327/.442 and made his first All-Star Team. Later on, he won the postseason National League Silver Slugger Award for catchers. Defensively, he ranked fourth in the NL with a 38.2 percent caught stealing rate, taking down 21-of-55 runners.
What teams are willing to meet the Miami Marlins asking price on Realmuto, now with two seasons of control left before he hits free agency? Well publicized inquiries by the Brewers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees, the Washington Nationals, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have been well established for some time now. None of those teams, so far, have wanted to meet the Marlins asking price, which is said to include at least one major league caliber starting player.
Widely considered the best catcher currently in the game, the Marlins are smart to stick to their guns. If it was me asking, (and it’s not, unfortunately) I would insist on a mid-rotation starter and two team-top three prospects as a jumping off point. Which clubs may go that extra mile it’s going to take for Jeter and Company to part ways with Realmuto? The Toronto Blue Jays may be a perfect fit.
Realmuto North of the Border
Russell Martin is on the wrong side of 35, and only hit .194 in 2018, his 13th major league season. He also threw out only 22 percent of baserunners. The Toronto Blue Jays have a stacked minor league system. I know Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is all but anointed to the Hall of Fame someday, and is thus untouchable.
After Guerrero, though, there’s a lot of other assets that the Miami Marlins should find valuable. Danny Jansen is an offensively-oriented catcher who just completed 2018 at the triple-A level, and hit .247 in a 31 game look in the majors. He’s the Jays number three prospect, and #65 overall according to MLB Pipeline. This wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world for either team.
I’m not suggesting that Jansen = Realmuto. After all, Realmuto is a bird in the hand, while Jansen is still one in the bush (leagues). Jansen is impressive, in nearly every way, but Realmuto is a proven commodity. The Jays would need to sweeten the pot with another asset.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Marcus Stroman is a starter that the Jays have been rumored to be shopping. After a 13-9 record and a 3.09 ERA in 2017, the wheels seemingly came off in 2018. Stroman completed this season at just 4-9, with a 5.54 ERA, but looks can be deceiving.
Despite the downtick in conventional metrics, Stroman’s FIP remained essentially unchanged, going from 3.90 to 3.91 over the same span. Also consider that he suffered through a variety of ailments through the season, going on the DL twice for right-shoulder fatigue in May and for a finger blister in August. Stroman also lost his arbitration case following last season, and may be able to flourish in a new, warmer (both figuratively and literally) environment.
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Aaron Sanchez is also said to be on the block after a substandard 2018. After going 15-2 and earning American League Cy Young Award votes in 2016, he’s seemed to have cratered. Over his first three seasons, he pitched to a 1.150 WHIP and a 2.86 ERA. In his last two, those numbers have ballooned to 1.603 and 4.72, respectively.
The Blue Jays have not yet been mentioned as a likely trading partner with the Marlins, but some of the pieces seem to fit. Since we’re destined to lose Realmuto in South Florida either way, there are worse offers out there.
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