In order to snag Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, the New York Mets would need to give up a lot. Is it worth trading Amed Rosario to land this star catcher? Under the right circumstances, yes.
Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto is a rare bread. He’s one of the few backstops in baseball who can still do a little bit of everything. New York Mets fans saw firsthand how ineffective catchers can be these days. No matter who they seemed to put behind the plate in 2018, the results were the same: bad.
This offseason, there’s a lot of buzz around Realmuto. His agent has already said he won’t sign an extension with Miami. As a result, every team with a catcher vacancy is flooded with comments from fans on Twitter demanding they land him.
The Mets have been interested in Realmuto’s services since at least last offseason. The Marlins opened up the door to trading just about everyone. They dealt their entire outfield which included the 2017 MVP and the favorite to win the award in 2018. Realmuto was the last man standing, but that may soon change.
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In order to get Realmuto, the Mets would, of course, need to give up a lot. On the MLB roster, Amed Rosario looks like the most logical choice. He’s the one many fans have mentioned online as the headliner of the deal. With the hope of Peter Alonso bringing his minor league power to the big leagues, Rosario is the best the Mets can logically offer other than maybe Andres Gimenez.
The Marlins want minor league players right now. The cheaper, the better. They will, however, accept major league ready ones with plenty of controllable years left. Rosario fits this description. He’s also seasoned enough where his best years could line up well with the timeline the Marlins have in place to finally win again.
Meanwhile, up in New York, the Mets’ desire to win is right now. At least, this is what we are made to believe.
Realmuto has two years of arbitration eligibility left before he reaches free agency. Though this is much shorter than the number of years Rosario has remaining on his deal, the Mets could essentially accelerate his progress by swapping him for Realmuto.
The Mets don’t need a superstar caliber catcher to win in 2019 or 2020. They do, however, need an offensive boost. Realmuto would surely give them this. By moving Rosario, they also solve the question about where Gimenez eventually plays once MLB-ready.
The danger with any trade is the Mets may end up dealing away a future star to a division rival. This is never easy to swallow. It’s also the kind of risk a team has to make whenever they hope to win immediately.
Realmuto is the kind of guy who could help change a franchise. Catchers have the power to control a game. In addition to the sweet stick, his defensive abilities would improve the Mets. He threw out 38% of attempted base runners last season. I have no doubt he’d work well with the pitching staff, too.
The same way a catcher can alter a game, a shortstop can do similar things behind the pitcher. Rosario may develop into the kind of middle infielder teams build around. The same is true of Gimenez, which is yet another reason why sacrificing Rosario is worth considering.
Would I make this trade? I guess it depends on which other prospects are included and whether or not I believed I could get a suitable replacement for Rosario. I’ve accepted Manny Machado won’t go near the Mets. So, unless I thought the team could be significantly better over the next two seasons with Realmuto instead of Rosario, I wouldn’t do it.
This is a game of Let’s Make a Deal. Do we go with the known in Realmuto or select what’s behind door number two with Rosario’s potential inside? It all depends on what prizes we’ve already won this winter.
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On the right team, Realmuto can be the finishing touch. At least for now, on the Mets, he’s a great piece to have but far from the final move they need to make.