Jake Arrieta signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Cubs last month, returning to the site of his Cy Young Award-winning prime years. Arrieta’s initial great run in Chicago could have been cut short, however, had the Marlins been willing to include J.T. Realmuto as part of a trade package with the Cubs in 2014, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes. The Marlins weren’t in contention in 2014 but were looking ahead to build for 2015, eyeing Arrieta as a big rotation piece. It was known at the time that the Cubs were floating Arrieta on the trade market, perhaps looking to sell high after Arrieta had turned his career around after previously being dealt from the Orioles to the Cubs.
Interestingly, Realmuto was not regarded as a blue-chip minor leaguer at the time, as he didn’t appear on top-100 prospect lists from either MLB.com or Baseball America until after the 2014 season. After middling numbers in his first four pro seasons, Realmuto emerged in 2014 while playing for Miami’s Double-A affiliate and even bypassed Triple-A that year to make an 11-game MLB cameo on the Marlins’ active roster. Still, the Marlins obviously believed in Realmuto’s potential, and the trade negotiations fizzled out.
As we ponder the alternate reality where the Arrieta-for-Realmuto trade went down, here’s more from the National League…
- Pirates starter Steven Brault left Friday’s outing after only two innings due to tightness in his left arm, and is day to day with the injury. The team’s statement specified that Brault’s issue was with his latissimus muscle, rather than any forearm or elbow tightness. Still, any sort of injury concern isn’t welcome news for Brault or the Pirates, as Brault is projected for one of the top spots in Pittsburgh’s rotation. The southpaw had a 3.38 ERA/5.07 SIERA over 42 2/3 innings for the Bucs last season, allowing only two home runs and doing a good job of limiting hard contact, though Brault was aided by a .243 BABIP and his 21.3K% was below average.
- With Dellin Betances struggling in Spring Training, could the Mets decide to part ways with the reliever entirely? SNY’s Andy Martino thinks it may be a possibility, if the Mets see Betances as something of “a sunk cost” who won’t help their efforts to contend. One would imagine the Mets would try to shop Betances in trades before considering a release, though it isn’t as if Betances’ trade value is high following a rough first season in Queens. The righty posted a 7.71 ERA over 11 2/3 innings in 2020, recorded more walks (12) than strikeouts (11) and spent a month on the IL due to a lat injury. Unsurprisingly, Betances exercised his $6MM player option to remain with the Mets rather than test free agency in the wake of his down year. A four-time All-Star in his heyday with the Yankees, Betances missed almost all of the 2019 season due to shoulder problems and then a partial Achilles tear.