Rounding up the latest in market chatter . . .
- Per Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi on Twitter, the Padres have “continued talks” with the Marlins on a potential J.T. Realmuto trade and “could move” catcher Austin Hedges for pitching help if the deal were to be consummated. Though the long-suffering Friars could certainly use a near-term upgrade behind the dish, the 27-year-old Realmuto seems an odd fit – he comes, after all, with just two years left of control, during which time the club would need to seriously embark on a frenetic hole-patching effort if it hoped to compete. Catcher Francisco Mejia, acquired in a midseason blockbuster from Cleveland, seems near-ready to contribute (though he does face his questions about his ability to handle the position defensively), and Hedges, though highly unlikely to net a significant mound upgrade via trade, did flash signs of emerging as a potential regular last season, slugging .466 in the season’s 2nd half and posting an overall (.231/.282/.429) park-adjusted line that bested the average MLB mark for backstops in 2018.
- The “word,” according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, is that neither Bryce Harper nor Manny Machado “particularly likes” the idea of playing in Philadelphia, though whether the reluctance is city- or team-centric (or both) remains an open question. The Phillies, of course, are all set to spend “stupid money” this offseason, though thus far their acquisitions have been limited to just Andrew McCutchen and a trade for shortstop Jean Segura. For their part, MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM hears the same, tweeting that “reports are” neither free agent is enamored with the City of Brotherly Love. If true, the reports may cut deep for the Fightins, who’d likely have to dig far into the blueprints to find an offseason plan not containing either star at its center.
- The Rays, who’d placed Nelson Cruz near the top of their current wish list, remain in the market for a right-handed hitter after learning the 38-year-old picked Minnesota, tweets Sherman, who lists Realmuto and Nick Castellanos as possibilities but says the team is now “more likely” to get a “complementary” bat like that of former Met Wilmer Flores. Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that the Rays “suggested” to Cruz that their offer could reach $12MM, which obviously fell a bit of short of the Twins’ total. Tampa, of course, seems as prime a target as any to deal for a major upgrade (or two) with multiple years of control remaining, though the club seems loath as ever to deal from its trove of low-level prospects and big-league-ready performers. Given the club’s perennially meager payroll, it stands to reason that hoarding players of that ilk would be a top priority, but with the division at its toughest state in years, calculated aggression may be soon be necessary.