MMO Fan Shot: The Case For J.T. Realmuto

An MMO Fan Shot by Rob Walsh

Here we sit approximately 19 days from pitchers and catchers and much of the top free agent class still remains and our Mets are still projecting a lineup inferior to the 70-92 team that finished last season.

To their word, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon recently alluded to the fact that there are still a number of moves that the team may make to upgrade themselves before this offseason is over. They mentioned that it could still be in play that the team could broach or even exceed the payroll of last year if the correct moves present themselves.

No. 1 on that list of potential moves should not be a large market free agent signing, but a trade for Marlins backstop J. T. Realmuto. He is a revelation behind the plate with a potent bat and above average defense. Last year, he posted a 3.6 WAR and is second best only to Buster Posey over the last two years.

He is also incredibly cheap for that production. In his first year of arbitration, he is due to make about $3 million this year and is under team control for the next three seasons. That’s less than the glaring whole we’ve employed behind the dish the last several years, also known as Travis d’Arnaud.

With a .278 batting average and .332 on-base percentage, he has shown an increase in offensive production the last several years, translating to 17 home runs and 65 RBI last season.

It’s no secret that since the recent trades of Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, Realmuto has been vocal about requesting a trade from the fire sale ongoing with the Marlins. Miami also see no need to hold onto talent at this point and are looking to add quantity and depth at every position.

What makes this situation a more important move to consider for the Mets is that currently, the most interested team from multiple reports appears to be another team in the National League East, the Washington Nationals.

The Nats are reluctant to package their top prospect, and No. 5 overall Victor Robles in a deal for Realmuto. It’s expected that the request should be less than what the return for Yelich was, but it still should be significant. The Mets would be wise to bolster a significant position of need while subtracting this option from their strongest divisional rival.

The issue is what it will take to make the haul and whether the Mets have and are willing to deal what it will take to make it happen. We already heard some interest by the Pirates in Brandon Nimmo, but that the Mets were reluctant to value him to one year of Andrew McCutchen. Three years of Realmuto is worth a lot more than three years of Nimmo, period.

Nimmo is fairly expendable and has some value to package here. My opinion is it takes another top 100 type prospect value to get the wheels moving on a deal here though. The Mets sole addition to the current top 100 prospect list, SS Andres Gimenez would be the natural compliment on the deal. If they’re interested in taking d’Arnaud for a viable starter as well, I’d include $1-2 Million in cash to offset a good portion of his salary to boot.

This is a fair valuation for Realmuto and would bolster both teams, while almost equally important devaluing the options for the Nats. I understand the Mets don’t have a deep farm system and should be judicious in managing their talent.  Nimmo will be strapped for playing time when Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Yoenis Cespedes are all playing, so he is essentially the fourth to fifth outfielder for the rest of his arbitration years.

Amed Rosario is the real deal at short and while Gimenez could move to second or third in another year or two, he may and should be blocked by a proven acquisition for that role.

This type of revenue neutral deal would allow the Mets to still use the remaining few hours to target a legit player for second or third this year, likely something like Todd Frazier, but hopefully something more like Mike Moustakas and still be at or below last year’s $155 million payroll.

This combination of moves would complete a legitimate improvement of last year’s team without breaking the bank, so our penny pinching GM and owners can still sleep well at night. Let’s get it done guys, LET’S GO METS!

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This Fan Shot was written and contributed by MMO community member and die-hard Mets fan Rob Walsh. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Send your article to  GetMetsmerized@aol.com or use this Contact Form. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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