A few National League East-themed rumblings…
- The Braves reunited with catcher Brian McCann in free agency Wednesday, giving them a decent behind-the-plate tandem with him and Tyler Flowers. Atlanta’s not necessarily out of the sweepstakes for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, though, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported this week (subscription link). It appears Miami would need to significantly lower its asking price in order for Realmuto to join the NL East rival Braves, however. Per Rosenthal, the Marlins requested second baseman Ozzie Albies and more from the Braves in the teams’ discussions. Unsurprisingly, the Braves haven’t been willing to part with the 21-year-old Albies, who turned in a 3.8-fWAR rookie campaign in 2018 and is under wraps for the foreseeable future, for two seasons of control over Realmuto, 27.
- Sticking with the Braves, free-agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel is “high on their wish list,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Keuchel rejected a qualifying offer from the Astros in favor of reaching the open market, but because the Braves received revenue sharing and didn’t exceed the competitive balance tax in 2018, they’d only lose their third-highest draft pick in signing him. While Keuchel does figure to ink one of the richest contracts in this winter’s free-agent class, the Braves may have the money to reel him in, even after committing a combined $25MM to McCann and Josh Donaldson this week. Atlanta has plenty of young starting pitching on hand, but it’s arguably in need of a quality veteran starter like the soon-to-be 31-year-old Keuchel – especially with integral 2018 contributor Anibal Sanchez now a free agent and Julio Teheran looking like a potential trade chip.
- More from Rosenthal, who tweets that the Mariners have shown interest in Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford in the clubs’ talks centering on Seattle’s Jean Segura. Acquiring Segura wouldn’t take the Phillies out of the running for free-agent shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado, Rosenthal adds. If the Phillies were to land both, they’d use Segura at short and Machado at third, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Although, considering Machado has made it known he prefers shortstop, Salisbury notes that it’s unclear whether Philadelphia would be able to sell him on the hot corner – where he has spent the majority of his career. As for Crawford, he’s young (24 in January), affordable and controllable for a while, making him a fit for the rebuilding Mariners in those respects. Crawford hasn’t lived up to the elite prospect billing he once had, however. Across 138 major league plate appearances last season, Crawford turned in a passable batting line (.214/.319/.393 – good for a 96 wRC+), though he also posted subpar defensive numbers (minus-6 DRS, minus-3.4 UZR) in 229 innings at short.