The Miami Marlins have an unhappy catcher on their hands. The New York Mets don’t have a starting-caliber catcher. There’s a deal to be made.
With Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon traded away, Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade, per Sirius/XM’s Craig Mish.
Source : JT Realmuto has requested a trade from the Marlins.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 18, 2017
The New York Mets need to do everything they can to pry him loose.
Getting a catcher who can produce offensively is arguably the biggest challenge for a major league team. The position is so demanding, both physically and mentally, that producing offensively while playing the position is very difficult.
The Mets have found out first hand the difficulties in developing a catcher who can hit, as Travis d’Arnaud has not become what they hoped he would since being acquired from the Blue Jays, along with Noah Syndergaard, in the R.A. Dickey trade.
He has a mediocre career slash line of .245/.306/.406 and has struggled to stay on the field, playing over 100 games in a season only twice and never playing more than 112 games.
Although he has a good understanding of how to call games, he is awful at throwing out runners, gunning down only 22 percent of them throughout his five-year career.
Although he still shows the occasional flash, the team gave Kevin Plawecki a larger role down the stretch, and appear set to enter Spring Training with the two of them competing for the starting job.
Plawecki had a solid season last year, slashing .260/.364/.400. However, the former first-round pick is entering his age-27 season and his career slash line is only .222/.304/.310.
While most of his 2017 success was due to a reformed approach at the plate it’s difficult for a team to count on starting a player with a career .222 average while they’re looking to contend.
Realmuto is still relatively young (one month younger than Plawecki) and has had substantial success in the majors. He has a career slash line of .280/.322/.428, and hit a career-high .303 in 2016. He smacked a career-high 17 home runs in 2017. He has also proven himself to be very durable, playing at least 126 games every year of his career (excluding an 11 game cameo in 2014).
Realmuto has also been clocked by Statcast as the fastest catcher in the league by 1.2 feet per second (0.81 mph).
On a team that has struggled with speed for several years, Realmuto’s top-end speed of 28.6 feet per second would place him second on the Mets, behind only Amed Rosario (who clocked in at 29.7 feet per second, good enough to tie Dee Gordon for fourth fastest in the league).
Realmuto has 28 stolen bases in his career, with eight of them coming last season. He’s not a top-tier base stealer, but he does add a missing element to the lineup in that regard.
However, the biggest reason for the team to add Realmuto isn’t speed, and it isn’t positional need (I’m actually a pretty big Plawecki fan). The biggest reason is relative value.
The Marlins are taking way less than market value in trades in order to shed money, and Realmuto is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason.
While there are legitimate questions as to how much money the Mets will spend to improve the team, they have a chance to get a successful young catcher for below market value. They need to take this opportunity.
This is simply too good of an opportunity for Sandy Alderson to pass up.