NY Mets: 10 best free agents for Steve Cohen to buy this winter
2) J.T. Realmuto
You all knew this one was coming. The best catcher in baseball is a free agent and will definitely be on the Mets radar. It’s been so long since the Mets have even considered top talent like this, and it sure is a relief that they’ll at least meet with him.
The 30-year-old slashed .266/.349/.840 this season with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. Despite not playing in 13 games, Realmuto finished in the top three in batting, home runs, and RBI among major league catchers. He also tacked on four stolen bases, which would have been the second most on the Mets. A catcher also providing speed is extremely rare, and after watching Wilson Ramos run the last two years, Realmuto would be a very welcome sight.
While his offensive production especially for a catcher is very good, he’s more known for his defense. Realmuto won the 2019 Gold Glove Award and had a +12 DRS. Realmuto has the fastest pop time for a catcher, and a strong arm to go along with that, which helped him catch 46.7% of opposing base stealers in 2019. This will certainly be helpful for guys like Jacob deGrom and especially Noah Syndergaard who has struggled with potential base stealers his entire career.
The stars all align for the Mets to make this move. There is an obvious need for a catcher, they could really use another big right-handed bat to compliment a very left-handed heavy lineup, and they could steal him from the rival Phillies.
This would not be the first time the Mets have gone after Realmuto. They made a real push for him in the 2018 offseason to acquire him, but nothing ever materialized. The Marlins reportedly wanted either Noah Syndergaard, or two of Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, and Michael Conforto. Looking back, I probably would trade Nimmo and Rosario for Realmuto. But obviously, hindsight is 20/20.
Signing Realmuto is no guarantee. Due to the COVID pandemic, we really don’t know what teams will be willing to spend in free agency. Recently, a report came out saying Realmuto was seeking $200 million dollars this offseason. If that’s what it takes to get him, I say no deal. This team has too many other holes to fill and that’s too much for a 30-year old catcher. Players at that position get beat up every single game and Realmuto himself is coming off of a season when he missed two weeks due to injury.
If the Mets can land Realmuto on a four- or five-year deal worth around $30 million dollars per season, I would be very happy with that. I think anything longer term just seems like too much of a risk for someone at this position. I do believe due to Realmuto’s outstanding athleticism he can last pretty long behind the plate but you really never know.
Realmuto will have plenty of teams going after him this offseason, but I don’t imagine any of them spending more than Steve Cohen would if he decided Realmuto is his guy. For the first time in a long time there is a really good chance the Mets can sign the top player in free agency, and I couldn’t be more excited.