There were some reports that the San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins, and New York Mets were exploring a possible three-team trade. Is it still possible for a deal like this to get done, or was it just part of the hoopla that is the MLB Winter Meetings?
The 2018 MLB Winter Meetings have ended, and the San Diego Padres are still trying to achieve their top offseason priority, which is to acquire a frontline starting pitcher.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller remains on the path of bringing in someone to improve the rotation, which consists mostly of young hurlers. A veteran ace will not only dramatically improve the rotation, but also serve as a leader for the Padres’ youngsters.
The Padres have the option of either signing a free agent or acquiring an ace from another team. They have payroll flexibility, and they have plenty of prospect capital. They have the top farm system in baseball, and it’s loaded with prospect depth. They have plenty of ways to be creative in any deal.
Some of the more attractive free agent pitching targets, like Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi, are already off the board.
Corbin signed a large contract with the Washington Nationals, and Eovaldi remained with the Red Sox, accepting a four-year deal. The Padres are said to have interest in Dallas Keuchel, although AJ Cassavell reported on Dec. 14 that their interest in the 30-year-old lefty is low at this point.
I’ve heard the Padres’ interest in Dallas Keuchel is pretty low. Not to say it couldn’t happen. But right now they’ll be focusing on other starting options or staying internal.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) December 15, 2018
Acquiring an ace pitcher via trade is likely the route the Padres take. One rumor has suggested that they are talking with the New York Yankees about a trade for Sonny Gray. Gray is not a frontline starter, and will be a free agent after 2019, but would still be an improvement.
One rumor that surfaced near the end of the Winter Meetings was a three-team trade proposal between the Padres, the New York Mets, and the Miami Marlins. The deal would send Noah Syndergaard to the Padres, while the Mets would acquire All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami. The Mets have been said to be exploring scenarios that would allow them to land Realmuto.
The Padres have been linked to Syndergaard since before the Winter Meetings. Several writers had linked the Mets and Padres to each other directly, with proposals that would send some of the Padres’ top pitching prospects to New York. These proposals have included left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, San Diego’s no. 2 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Chris Paddack, the Padres’ no. 5 prospect.
The rumor of a direct trade between the Padres and Mets never amounted to anything, but the Padres’ interest in Syndergaard is said to remain strong. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Dec. 13 that the Mets and Padres have discussed a three-team trade with the Marlins. Rosenthal said that the Mets would receive Realmuto and at least one other player while sending Syndergaard to San Diego, and the Marlins would receive prospects. Rosenthal said the trade wasn’t close, but was just one of many ideas being kicked around.
#Mets have discussed three-team trades with multiple teams trying to get Realmuto, at this point to no avail. Framework of one proposal, per sources: Realmuto-plus to #Mets, Syndergaard to #Padres, young players to #Marlins. Not close. Just one of many ideas kicked around.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2018
What would it take to make this trade happen? The three teams are all in different situations. The Mets recently acquired Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Seattle while saying they want to “win now.” The Padres are reaching the end of their rebuilding phase, and a significant move puts them closer to contention. The Marlins are entering their second year under new ownership and are nowhere near contention.
Reports have said that several teams have inquired about Realmuto. The Marlins’ asking price for their All-Star catcher is said to be quite high, with that being the likely reason why he hasn’t been dealt yet. Realmuto has two years of control remaining, so it would benefit the Marlins to trade him sooner rather than later.
Landing Syndergaard would come at great expense for San Diego. That’s already a given. It will cost top prospects. One scenario would involve Francisco Mejia, the top catching prospect in baseball. But it would take more than Mejia going to Miami to satisfy the Marlins. They would need at least one other prospect from the Padres. That prospect could be left-handed pitcher Adrian Morejon, the Padres’ no. 6 prospect. The Marlins also receive a prospect from the Mets.
With the Mets wanting to “win now,” they’ve said they want only major league players in exchange for Syndergaard. They don’t want prospects. Trading Syndergaard puts a hole in their rotation. The Padres could supplement that loss by sending left-handed pitcher Joey Lucchesi to New York.
The Padres have a crowded outfield. They’re looking for a legitimate third baseman this winter, meaning that unless Wil Myers is traded (which isn’t likely), he goes back to the outfield. As of now, the Padres have Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Franmil Reyes, and Travis Jankowski on their 40-man roster. The Padres could send Margot to the Mets, alleviating their outfield logjam and opening a spot on the 40-man roster for a third baseman.
The Padres have their ace. The Mets have the catcher they covet. The Marlins have players that set them up for future contention. All three teams get what they’re seeking in this trade.