Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Marlins can't be serious with this, can they?
That was the vibe coming out of the Mets' suite at the Delano hotel in Las Vegas in December, when they were trying their best to pry star catcher J.T. Realmuto away from a division rival.
When Miami, according to major league sources, indicated an asking price of one or two of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario plus multiple prospects, the Mets front office was sure that price would come down before long.
How could it not?
Then, when the Yankees jumped in, trying to take advantage of the Mets' desire for Realmuto by making a play for Noah Syndergaard, the possibilities became even more appealing for the Marlins. It's unclear what could have actually gotten done, but names like Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar were at least floated in these talks.
There was a point when high-ranking Mets people believed that a Syndergaard/Andujar/Realmuto deal was a real possibility.
Surely, the Mets thought, the Marlins can find something that they like in all that.
But as the days passed and the meetings ended, Miami never came off its exorbitant ask. The Mets scratched their heads and smartly pivoted to Wilson Ramos, who is a few notches below Realmuto, but is a quality player who allowed New York to keep its roster intact.
And now, Miami has agreed to trade Realmuto to Philadelphia for a far lesser package, headlined by pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, according to sources. Sanchez is talented, but was limited to just eight starts last year because of elbow issues. He then skipped the Arizona Fall League after experiencing a setback.
"I would not feel good at all about acquiring Sixto Sanchez," said one evaluator who knows the Phillies system well.
The second major piece, Jorge Alfaro, is a decent catcher who struck out 138 times in 377 plate appearances last year. Miami will also get LHP Will Stewart and an international bonus slot.
One evaluator compared the Marlins return to a theoretical trade of Realmuto for Steven Matz and Jarred Kelenic, the 19-year-old prospect dealt to Seattle for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. In other words, an OK haul but in a different universe from the request of Conforto and Rosario plus prospects.
The Marlins overplayed their hand, and appear poised to end up with way less than they once thought they could get. The Mets handled themselves well, and did not get caught up in the moment because of their strong desire for Realmuto.
That's the good news for the Mets. The bad news is that the Phillies are poised to acquire a major star, whom they will control for two years. And they are still in the mix for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
The view from here is that the Phils lack the pitching to win the division. The best available option, Dallas Keuchel, is in decline, as is Jake Arrieta. And it doesn't help that their unpopular manager, Gabe Kapler, is embroiled in multiple scandals.
But say this about the National League East, however it plays out: Four teams are all-in, trying to win the division in 2019, and that will make for many intense and interesting ballgames.