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Realmuto’s likeliest destinations, ranked

@williamfleitch
November 12, 2020

Free-agent season is upon us! This will be a free-agent season unlike any other, which makes sense, following a season unlike any other. You can’t expect things to start getting normal now. For the next few weeks, we’ll be taking regular looks at the top free agents, their top suitors

Free-agent season is upon us! This will be a free-agent season unlike any other, which makes sense, following a season unlike any other. You can’t expect things to start getting normal now.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be taking regular looks at the top free agents, their top suitors … and ranking ‘em. There are plenty of teams who want the top-tier options, the platinum plan, the Glengarry leads. But who’s most likely to sign them? That’s the goal of the Free Agency Power Rankings: To give you our best guess.

Last week, we looked at the many, many suitors of Trevor Bauer. This week, we look at J.T. Realmuto. The catcher is perhaps the best position player on the market, a terrific, Gold Glove-winning defensive catcher with power, on-base skills and even some speed. He’s coming off his fifth consecutive outstanding offensive season, and he’s not even 30 yet. You can build a team around guys like Realmuto.

But which team? Let’s make some Realmuto predictions. Let’s make some J.T. Realmuto Power Rankings.

1. Mets
The Mets have a new owner, plenty of surrounding talent, a frustrated but fiercely loyal fanbase and a huge hole at catcher. They also, with a whole new leadership group, would love to make the sort of splash that makes you want to believe there is a new Mets gang in charge. It just looks like they’re going to have some money to spend, doesn’t it? And Realmuto is the most logical place to put it, taking a star away from a division rival and upgrading their team both at the plate and in the field. Put it this way: If the Mets don’t come up with Realmuto, there’s going to be a ton of grousing in Queens. Though I suppose there usually is.

2. Phillies
Bryce Harper will be cashing checks from the Phillies well into the decade after this one -- seriously, after the 2020 we’ve had, can you possibly fathom what the world is going to be like in 2031? -- so obviously he would like to have some say in the direction the franchise is going. And right now, what he really wants is J.T. Realmuto to remain his teammate.

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Can the Phillies make it happen? They’re coming off a disappointing season, they traded Sixto Sánchez to get Realmuto (and boy would they love to have him right now) and it’s tough to see how they are better without their All-Star catcher. The Phillies now have the second-longest postseason drought in baseball, behind only the Mariners. How are they more likely to end it with Realmuto gone?

3. Angels
The Angels obviously need pitching, because the Angels always need pitching. But Realmuto, in addition to helping their already-solid lineup, would theoretically help out their staff as well, whoever those pitchers end up being. Certainly Mike Trout would be pleased to have Anthony Rendon and Realmuto signed as lineup protection in consecutive years. If you don’t think you can get Bauer, and you don’t think any other starters are worth paying top dollar to, this is an option.

4. Yankees
The question here is whether they are really ready to move on from Gary Sánchez, who still has two seasons left before he hits free agency. It’s not impossible, is it? (It is not.) The Yankees always have to be included on any list of potential free-agent destinations. It is, in fact, the law.

5. Nationals
We went too long without an NL East team there. The Nationals have an opening at catcher, a longtime association and familiarity with Realmuto (Juan Soto famously loves him) and a desire to get back atop this division. Realmuto could be a shortcut to that endgame, and you know all those veteran pitchers would love throwing to him.

6. Braves
Let’s finish out the NL East! Travis d’Arnaud could easily move to designated hitter (if there is, of course, a designated hitter next season in the NL, and they don’t re-sign Marcell Ozuna) if they wanted to attach another All-Star to this lineup, though that does feel a little bit like a bank shot here, particularly with some young catchers moving up in the system.

Other potential possibilities:

Blue Jays: Word is they’re willing to spend, and while pitching would seem to be the focus, they have a space for Realmuto.
Cardinals: The Cardinals sure don’t feel like big spenders this offseason, but if they do end up losing Yadier Molina, this sure would help out that struggling lineup.
Rockies: They’d have to sort out their Nolan Arenado/Trevor Story situations, but he’d give them an anchor everywhere.
Twins: If they lose Nelson Cruz, could Mitch Garver become a DH, opening a spot for Realmuto?