The on-again, off-again chatter surrounding the Braves and Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has left an uncertain situation. While the Atlanta organization already seems to have a palatable situation behind the dish, with Brian McCann rejoining the org to pair with Tyler Flowers, it’s also one that is susceptible of improvement. In any event, the stalemate seemingly continues, though Craig Mish of MLB Network does tweet that the teams have been in contact of late regarding Realmuto. It’s far from clear that any progress has been made, though, as he says the Braves “appear to be waiting [the] Marlins out.” The Rays also “remain a possibility,” says Mish, though at this point it’s really anyone’s guess how things will turn out with regard to Realmuto, who’s a valuable enough asset that any number of other teams could conceivably still enter the picture or circle back if other offseason pursuits don’t pan out.
Some more notes on the trade and free-agent markets…
- The Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sagas are holding up the markets for many remaining free agents, even left-hander Dallas Keuchel, per MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal (video link). Rosenthal suggested on MLBN’s Hot Stove this morning that Keuchel is waiting to see where the market’s top two free agents land, presumably knowing that a suitor who misses out on Harper or Machado will have money to spend elsewhere. The Phillies, for instance, have been connected to all three players, so it’s not all that difficult to see them making a more serious run at Keuchel should their top two targets sign elsewhere.
- Another would-be blockbuster situation that may now be fizzling is the Indians’ oft-discussed negotiations on top starters Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer discusses the situation, suggesting it may be time for the Cleveland organization to ask for final offers and otherwise move on from the marketing process. Of course, it’s far from clear that the team is taking that stance. And as Hoynes goes on to discuss, it’s also still not apparent how (or even if) the Indians will go about improving a roster that looks quite a bit different than it did just a few months ago. It’s still possible that Cleveland could add an outfielder from the free-agent market, but there’s no indication that they’re in line to make a significant splash on that front.
- Meanwhile, talks between the Braves and the Tigers regarding outfielder Nicholas Castellanos have gone nowhere since the two sides talked at last month’s Winter Meetings, Morosi tweets. The Braves are, of course, still looking far and wide for a corner outfielder and are “active” in their pursuit of that key need. With many options seemingly still on the table, though, the club appears to be content not to push hard for any particular player, which might increase the acquisition cost.
- Veteran southpaw Robbie Ross is preparing to throw for scouts in mid-January as he looks for a new opportunity, MLBTR has learned. Ross spent time with the White Sox organization in 2018, but struggled with his command as he worked back to health following back surgery in August of 2017. He’s now said to be at full strength, though he’ll certainly need to show that to the talent evaluators who take a look. The 29-year-old has generally been quite effective as a big-league reliever, with a 3.52 ERA in 270 2/3 career innings in that capacity.