Following a merciful coda to the offseason’s most protracted soap opera – a fine Philly offer, agreed upon Thursday, that finally plucked former Marlin catcher J.T. Realmuto from the clutches of South Beach – each of the oft-snubbed clubs offered their final say.
We’ll start in Atlanta, in whose court the Realmuto ball seemed to linger longest – indeed, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the team needed only to surrender two from the group of Austin Riley, Cristian Pache, and one top pitching prospect (of which Atlanta has several: each of Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Joey Wentz are top 100 prospects in at least one major outlet). Ozzie Albies, said to be an essential part of any Realmuto deal with Atlanta, was never a demanded centerpiece, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Though certainly a substantial return, it’s a package that can’t be said, by any reasonable analysis, to be one that would have stripped the farm of the suddenly-conservative Braves to the bone.
The ask of the Dodgers, ever-cautious themselves, was two from a group of Dustin May, Keibert Ruiz, Gavin Lux, and Will Smith, per Heyman, in the same tweet. Ruiz and Smith, both catchers, likely won’t ever be on the field together at Chavez Ravine, and some outlets ranked neither May nor Lux inside the top 100. Both Heyman and Rosenthal concede that Cody Bellinger was the prize on which Miami initially laid its eyes, but it appears the team quickly swiveled to less-established names in the weeks to follow.
Rosenthal confirms earlier reports that the Fish first coveted outfielder Michael Conforto or Amed Rosario from the Mets, and adds that the team also needed a “top shortstop prospect,” presumably Andres Gimenez, to be added to the deal. It doesn’t appear the club pivoted to other names after the Mets balked, likely owing to the thinned-out version of the late-offseason Mets farm.
From the Yankees, the club did seek Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar, per Rosenthal, but only part of a “larger deal” that would obviously have included additional pieces. The Bombers were understandably reluctant to trade either, and the wheat of the Yankee farm – stocked mostly with high-upside, low-level types – wouldn’t have been enough to secure Realmuto’s services. The reported three-team with the Mets that would have sent Noah Syndergaard to New York was bandied about, but a copacetic swap was “never close.”
Cincinnati was both late to the fore and hesitant to move any of its top three prospects, per Rosenthal, and it doesn’t appear a deal was close there, either. Perhaps surprisingly, given the intense scrutiny of the talks, both the Twins and White Sox were “in the mix,” though prospective returns and/or offers are still in the dark.
In the end, Miami seems more than content with its return. The Fish regarded Will Stewart, the trade’s third piece, as Philadelphia’s second-best pitching prospect, per Rosenthal, ahead of near-unanimous top-100 hurler Adonis Medina, righty Spencer Howard, who placed 52nd on Keith Law’s list, and lefty JoJo Romero (66th overall, per Law). Sixto Sanchez, of course, has a decent shot to be an ace, and it’s certainly true that the club could reap more value in Jorge Alfaro alone than it would in the next two seasons with Realmuto behind the dish. The oft-pilloried asks, long said to far outstrip the two-year value of the game’s premier offseason trade target, were, in most respects, perfectly reasonable, and may have quickly been met in eras bygone. This, though, is the time for prospect hoarding, an age in which the control is treasured above all else, and those with even the slightest chance to be stars are stashed deep away, brought out only for the most earnest of window shoppers.