Though earlier reports suggested the Mets’ pursuit of catcher J.T. Realmuto was a “long shot,” MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that the team is “considered” one of only three teams (with the other two not yet known) “in the mix” for the 27-year-old. The whirlwind of activity surrounding the star backstop, at this point, seems matched only by the Mets’ frantic pursuit of blockbuster deals in all directions, so the potential intersection of the two remains a fascinating watch indeed. Frisaro does, however, downplay the plausibility of the rumored three-team deal that would also include the Yankees.
In other news from around the Senior Circuit . . .
- Per Jon Heyman of Fancred, none of the Dodgers’ glut of outfielders are unavailable in trades, including 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger. He does imply, though, that 23-year-old Bellinger would be most difficult to get; other options, like Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and youngster Alex Verdugo have most often found their names circulating in the swirling winds of trade season, though Chris Taylor, who’s averaged nearly 4.0 fWAR over the last two seasons, is apparently on the table as well. One of Pederson or Verdugo would, as quality lefty bats capable of handling center field, seem the most logical candidate to be moved, but the notoriously coy Andrew Friedman, long a sucker for homegrown talent, may be setting his sights elsewhere. Pederson, for one, has a value difficult to gauge precisely – his frightening platoon splits (129 career wRC+ vs RHP, 61 wRC+ vs left) at times mask a steadily productive output (10.1 fWAR since ’15) in the four years since his debut. LA, of course, is thought to be seeking upgrades at the front of the rotation.
- The Diamondbacks, who earlier today indicated to blood-smelling clubs that they aren’t interested in a full rebuild, may react to core departures by shuffling current regulars to different spots across the diamond. Indeed, as GM Mike Hazen indicated to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert this morning, current third baseman Jake Lamb may shift to first, while incumbent second baseman and sometimes shortstop Ketel Marte could see time in center field. The club is still exploring trade-market upgrades in center, and hasn’t completely given up on resigning A.J. Pollock, but Hazen explicitly pinpointed Marte as a legitimate, “full-time” option at the position in 2019. Marte, who signed a 5-year, $24MM extension just days prior to last season, put together a solid, 2.5 fWAR season for the Snakes last year, slashing .260/.332/.437 (104 wRC+) in nearly a full season’s worth of time.
- The Cardinals appear to be comfortable with outfielder Dexter Fowler opening the 2019 season as the starter in right field, per President of Baseball Ops John Mozeliak via MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch. Fowler, of course, is owed nearly $50MM over the next three seasons, and just completed a dreadful, injury-marred ’18 campaign with the Redbirds. His -1.2 fWAR, muffled by a career-worst .118 ISO, was among the worst in baseball last season, though the 32-year-old had been above-league-average offensively in each of the seven seasons prior to last. With left field still manned by Marcell Ozuna, and center earmarked for the burgeoning Harrison Bader, outfield additions seem to have been put on the St. Louis back burner for the time being.