LAS VEGAS -- The buzz keeps growing that All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto will be traded, perhaps at the Winter Meetings. But as of Tuesday night, nothing has advanced to the point where a deal is imminent.The Mets remain the most aggressive for Realmuto, but they are not alone. According to
LAS VEGAS -- The buzz keeps growing that All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto will be traded, perhaps at the Winter Meetings. But as of Tuesday night, nothing has advanced to the point where a deal is imminent.
The Mets remain the most aggressive for Realmuto, but they are not alone. According to a source, the Yankees are considered a possibility.
Linking the Marlins, Mets and Yankees has been a hot topic since late Monday, when reports surfaced that the clubs had discussed a possible three-team trade. The scenario had the Marlins trading Realmuto to the Mets, with pitcher Noah Syndergaard being dealt from the Mets to the Yankees. Miami would then receive players from the Yankees.
But sources say that deal was a long shot. The Mets have made it clear publicly that they covet Realmuto, while the Yankees have stated they don't have any active discussions regarding acquiring a catcher.
Realmuto has been the target of at least 14 teams, with the Dodgers, Phillies and Braves also being discussed. At one point, the Twins inquired, but a source noted they don't appear to be a match.
With Realmuto still having two years remaining in arbitration before qualifying for free agency in 2021, the Marlins maintain another option is to retain their backstop. That stance was delivered by chief executive officer Derek Jeter as far back as early November.
"We've been clear, and you heard it straight from Derek's mouth, that we control him for the next two years," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We don't have to trade. We know he is very good at what he does at a premium position. It's not necessarily a given [to trade], as much as the talking heads want to believe he's out the door."
With all 30 clubs gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, there is no shortage of trade scenarios regarding Realmuto.
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"We know what J.T. is and what he represents to this organization," Hill said. "He's a valuable asset. I think there is a high tag on him."
The Marlins have set a high asking price for Realmuto, which includes a top prospect and at least one big league player. It appears their focus is on position players to bolster an offense that ranked last in the Majors in runs, doubles, homers and slugging percentage in 2018.
"I don't think much has changed," Hill said in terms of the market and demands for Realmuto. "It's been pretty consistent. We know what his market is. There hasn't been anything that has compelled us to do anything to this point."
Still, with two days remaining at the Winter Meetings, talks could accelerate quickly.
The Marlins actually spent more time on Tuesday exploring ways to bolster the offense.
"We spent a lot of time today looking at some various offensive options in the marketplace," Hill said. "I'd say that's what we've probably spent the most time on today, is looking at offensive options."
Specifically, Miami covets left-handed hitters who have power. As currently constructed, the lineup is primarily right-handed since Derek Dietrich was designated for assignment.
According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins recently discussed a trade with the Mariners for switch-hitting first baseman Carlos Santana.
The Phillies recently traded Santana to Seattle after he had a slash line of .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs. Santana signed a three-year, $60 million deal before the 2018 season, with a $17.5 million team option for a fourth year.
The Marlins are expected to have a payroll of about $100 million, and Santana could fit, especially if the Mariners assume at least some portion of the remainder of his contract.
Free agent Matt Adams, a left-handed-hitting first baseman, is another possibility.
Speaking generally, Hill said Miami has some payroll flexibility.
"We know we need to add offense," Hill said. "We'll be creative in looking at many different ways to do that. We have a working payroll that we have, so we have flexibility to do some things. Our goal here is to find ways to improve our roster and improve our team."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.