Good morning, Mets fans! Welcome back to today’s Sunday edition of the hot stove rumor roundup. While there still hasn’t been much action in terms of free agents signing deals, a few rumors have started to brew that could have a moderate impact for several teams on the brink of contention.
Rockies Passing on Realmuto
Thomas Harding of MLB.com recently published a story detailing the Colorado Rockies’ plans to improve behind the dish for the coming year. While the team has “touched base” with the Miami Marlins’ front office regarding a possible trade for J.T. Realmuto, they are less than likely to outbid other clubs that may be interested.
The Rockies’ current tandem of Chris Iannetta, Tony Wolters, and Tom Murphy has inspired little confidence offensively, and the team’s .657 OPS ranked 12th in the National League this past season among catching crews. Manager Bud Black has insisted that defense is the priority for a catcher, but even then, Realmuto’s 38% caught-stealing percentage last season was nearly double the rate posted by the same trio (20.9% on over 100 attempts).
Pitching prospect Peter Lambert and infielder Garrett Hampson – the organization’s third and fourth-ranked prospects (respectively), were posited by Jim Bowden (a former general manager and current writer with The Athletic) as pieces that could have been shipped east. Seeing as no such discussions have materialized (at least as far as insiders know), it’s safe to anticipate Colorado looking elsewhere.
Beltre Mulling Retirement
This next piece of news bears little relevance, if any, to the Mets’ offseason plans, but still concerns a renowned figure in today’s game in Adrian Beltre. The 21-year vet just wrapped up an eight-year deal and, now a free agent, has his share of decisions to make.
Having failed to play in 120 games for a second straight year, Beltre will inevitably fall beneath the current of younger, safer infielders such as Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, and Brian Dozier – even if he’s maintained a .830 OPS through his two injury-shortened seasons. Fancred Sports‘ Jon Heyman claims that the baseball world foresees Beltre to call it a career and settle down with his family, though Evan Grant of SportsDay Dallas News writes that a decision is expected to be made within the next week.
By then, Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels will have outlined and informed Beltre of his role going forward. With Texas gearing up to rebuild and cultivate young talent for a brighter future, the imminent Hall of Famer may still have another year of leadership left, but could also decide to pull the plug. No other teams are rumored to have contacted Beltre.
Padres Looking to Shed Outfielders
As the San Diego Padres prepare to stock up and re-enter the competitive sphere of the National League, they find themselves juggling a few too many outfielders. Per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, the Padres could line up to make a few trades during the winter meetings. Between speedster Travis Jankowski and sluggers Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes, general manager A.J. Preller has a few pawns he could sacrifice in exchange for more prospects and/or pitching staff reinforcements.
Wil Myers‘ name has also been brought up as a potential trade chip. While his pedigree gives him a selling advantage over the other three outfielders, Myers also comes with a hefty price tag – one that will mandate roughly $73M through 2023. Myers played in just 83 games last year, slashing .253/.318/.446 with just 39 RBI and -7 DRS at third base – another position he’s been shepherded into with little success.
Finding a partner for Renfroe or Reyes seems much more likely given their respective showings last year. A former first-round pick with a damning strikeout problem, Renfroe broke out last season, posting a .805 OPS while raising his BB/K ratio and increasing his hard-hit rate to a rousing 47.2% (fourth-highest among NL outfielders). Reyes, on the other hand, has just 87 games from 2018 to speak to, but raked through his last two months to the tune of a .318/.385/.548 line, and is only 23.
Nationals Content at Second Base
The Nationals don’t seem to be all that preoccupied in finding a replacement for Daniel Murphy, according to Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Heading into 2019, the team expects to run second base through a righty/lefty platoon between Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo. General manager Mike Rizzo told Dougherty, “we like our situation in the middle of the infield with Trea [Turner] and Howie and Difo and [Carter] Kieboom in the wings. We got [Luis] Garcia in the wings that we don’t feel is far away… we like our depth there; we really like the ability level there.”
With Bryce Harper likely out the door and a series of windows nearing a close in the nation’s capital, Rizzo could be playing with fire banking on such young talents such as Kieboom and Garcia, but is undoubtedly assuming cruise control by deferring to Kendrick and Difo. The former enters his age-36 season after rupturing his Achilles to cut his 2018 short while the latter, albeit versatile and viable on a defensive level, has a career .290 wOBA and .669 OPS.
This news doesn’t do a whole lot to the previous stories surrounding potential interest in Josh Harrison and Marwin Gonzalez, but on the whole, indicate that – in the event that either were to sign with the Nationals – neither would be as a means of “upgrading” at the keystone.