Should Padres Really Trade for J.T. Realmuto?

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In a surprising report, the San Diego Padres are reportedly in talks with the Miami Marlins in regard to catcher J.T. Realmuto. With two competent catchers on the roster, should the Padres try to make a push for the catcher?

On Twitter, Jim Bowden, former general manager and current staff writer for the Athletic, caused a bit of a stir amongst the Padre faithful with his tweet saying that, according to sources, one team that is “in” on Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto is, in fact, the San Diego Padres.

Amongst other teams that Bowden claims are also “in” are the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Tampa Bay Rays.

With the Mets seemingly making an “all-in” push and the Phillies and Braves expecting to make a playoff push, one would undoubtedly scratch their head at the fact that the Padres are competing to acquire Realmuto. After all, they already have Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia expected to share playing time at the catching position and with the Marlins setting an understandably high asking price in regard to a trade, so why the interest from A.J. Preller?

This is not to say that Realmuto isn’t worthy of such a high asking price. The 27-year-old is coming off one of his best seasons, hitting .277/.340/.483 with a wRC+ of 126 and a war of 4.8.

Realmuto’s ISO rating jumped to .208 thanks to an increase in his line drive and fly ball percentage (22.8% and 37.4% respectively), while his hard contact rate jumped from 33.3% in 2017 to 38.5% in 2018. All of this culminated in a career-high 21 home runs for Realmuto, as well as an appearance in the 2018 All-Star Game and a Silver Slugger.

Realmuto is no slouch behind the plate. He is regarded as a plus pitch framer and game manager, while he threw out 38% (21 out of 55) of would-be base stealers in 2018. In comparison, Hedges threw out 22% (13 out of58) behind the dish and Mejia threw out 29% (12 out of 42) between the Minors and the Majors.

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Realmuto is no doubt an exceptional catcher, arguably the best in the game today. For that reason, the Marlins have slapped a very expensive price tag on him and have let other teams know that he won’t come cheap. For instance, when Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen called to play ball with Miami, the Marlins made it clear that a package would have to include one or more of Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and possibly Amed Rosario. All of those are former top prospects who have graduated to the Majors and whose young careers have only just begun.

Now, imagine if AJ Preller wants to strike a deal with the Marlins for Realmuto. Not only would Miami ask for one of Hedges or Mejia in the trade, but also one of the Padres’ prized top-five prospects, including one or multiple of Fernando Tatis Jr. Luis Urias, Mackenzie Gore, and/or Chris Paddack (Mejia is ranked between Gore and Urias in the top five). Not to mention Miami would want at least one other Major League player as well as one or two lower-level prospects, and the asking price may be too high even for the Padres’ liking.

One theory as to why San Diego is interested in Realmuto is not because they want him; it is that the Mets do. The Mets have Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki as their primary catchers and New York has let it be known that they are searching for an upgrade. New York was also heavily shopping ace starter Noah Syndergaard and it seemed like there was steam building for a potential San Diego-New York trade involving Syndergaard. Those talks seemed to have lost steam, but if the Padres were to acquire Realmuto, who is to say Preller won’t re-engage talk with Van Wagenen for a blockbuster deal involving Realmuto and Syndergaard?

This is, of course, just a wildly ambitious theory that is the definition of “shot in the dark”. Realmuto is a great player, but the Padres already have in-house options and they can use their prospects to acquire a player at a position of need. In the endgame, San Diego may have to take a hard “no” with Realmuto.

13 thoughts on “Should Padres Really Trade for J.T. Realmuto?

  1. This one is confusing to me. If this was a year from now coming off a successful 2019 where they finished at .500, resolved the logjams in the OF, and internal pitching candidates stepped up and answered the bell; I could see this or Thor type move as a get over the hump move to open the window for post season run(s). But it’s not.

    This move is contrary to everything the front office has been pushing since the reboot. Not a fan of this idea.

  2. My first reaction is Preller is doing due diligence. My second is with the winter meetings beginning on Monday, he might be exploring a multi-team trade scenario. Many trades announced during the meetings were set up long before. The Padres want Syndergaard, but won’t give up Tatis, Urias, or Gore. It’s possible Preller is trying to trade players he WILL give up for players others want, to trade for players HE wants.

    Mutli-player, multi-team trades are difficult to pull off, but not impossible. Bowden was a GM, so he knows how these things work, and what it takes. His tweet is just one piece of the puzzle of trying to figure what those GMs holed up in their hotel rooms are up to. Nothing may come of it, or there could be a blockbuster trade announced during or after the meetings. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. Realmuto would make any team better, but as the article mentions the asking price will be insane. Might be preferable to keep Hedges and Mejia and their many years of team control, instead of trading for just 2 years of Realmuto.

  4. If the Padres trade for JTR it means they have given up on Hedges and Mejia and are betting all their chips on 2019 and 2020.

  5. Wow another article about who the Padres “should” get. Fascinating.

    BTW basing your writing on a tweet by Jim Bowden (where he includes like 10 other teams) is a pretty sad reason to write anything. Perhaps it would be better to write about Babe Ruth coming back or something about the Olsen twins: after all, ghost sightings are ALSO popular on twitter. There’s also the Kardashians, Twilight, etc.

    At least with the now, 10 or 11 (and counting) articles by EVT in the “what if/who should” category, a few actually make a point. Yours does not.

    So here is some logic: Preller is not rushing to let go of some top pieces in order to pick up Sonny Gray (or Kluber, etc.). But if he wants to secure a top of the rotation starter, he has to… That being said, what would he have to do to acquire the top Catcher in the game? And what would the top Catcher in the game cost who also happens to belong to an organization with a paper thin farm system and a GM who has to make a statement? -It’s anyone’s guess but you can double yours: it’s going to be huge. You will see two or three of our top 10 guys go and a couple of high-ceiling A-level players. If this wasn’t the case, someone would have already moved on him. The Padres will not be that team.

    In regards to our Catchers, Hedges is a “sell low” at this point and Mejia hasn’t even had a real shot. You’re going to bypass both of those players this season? That would be interesting timing.

    If you want Realmuto, I’m sure Preller will move on him when he’s around 34 or 35. You know the story: 5 year deal, big money. That’s more probable with the current trends of this club.

  6. There are some Preller haters out there. But I love how he leaves no rock unturned in finding SD a potential deal for our future. This articles theories show that angle. Be patient peeps, AJ’s getting us there!

    1. Well I think every GM does that, there’s just so many rumors and reporting being done that we hear everything (and most of it seems to be BS fueled by BS). I am a semi-Preller hater but I thought he showed some maturity by actually trying to move Myers and cutting Spangenberg. Those are two of his many early mistakes.

      I am continually curious about what he is doing though, since .500 seems to elude him like no Padre GM I’ve seen in recent memory (and that’s a sad list). Meanwhile, the marketing/media efforts bat around the term “contention” like we should expect it based on the Cubs and ‘Stros. We’re on a yellow brick road at the moment and this is really just been a fantasy ride of the minor league fairy tales. We haven’t added pieces which will produce wins or stability (jury is out on Hos but it’s not looking good) and we haven’t shown that we can have a successful player transition from the minors to to majors (Renfroe is almost there though, but that is one guy out of how many???).

      We have a big window right now but if he doesn’t manage it, all he have is a bunch of prospects that we’ll hear about while our club struggles to win 70 games. Sure, Preller amassed talent but they still have to translate in the Bigs and they still need veteran support. Let’s keep in mind, Preller’s job is to win and he is not doing that, not even close. People seem to forget that.

    2. Yes. Some people have no vision and are stuck on repeat with the same idiotic complaints about the team. Thank you for the comments.

  7. Bowden is just throwing team names around as usual. Even if the Padres trade one of Hedges or Mejia, hanging onto the other one makes way more sense than trade great assists away for Realmuto. Plus with the whole Rea/Castillo trade fiasco, the Marlins may not want to deal with the Padres.

    If the Marlins are willing to deal, Preller and Co. should be looking at adding Urena to the rotation.

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