Astros: An AL West takeover plan which involves Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Christian Yelich
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Christian Yelich /

Time for the Astros’ diabolical plan to come to fruition for the complete and utter takeover of the AL West.

The last I checked, the Astros are still the favorite in the AL West. Deservingly so, I might add.

Still, the Astros will likely have a target on their back in 2018. Again, deservingly so. An imaginary target on the back just comes with the championship territory.

If the Astros really wanted a target on their back in 2018, they need to execute one final grandiose plan: acquire Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins.

/Cue pipe dream responses/

Yes, it is a pipe dream to acquire both Yelich and Realmuto from the Marlins. It is simply unrealistic unless you part ways with prospects like Forrest Whitley and Kyle Tucker. There has yet to be a solid rumor in any genuine interest besides the usual off-season chatter that connects the Astros to these players.

Yet, the Astros should at least explore the possibility of adding Yelich and Realmuto, no matter how low the actual chances.

As we all know, it doesn’t hurt to, well, ask. And this is the Marlins.

Simply put, Yelich and Realmuto would be clear upgrades to the Astros’ current roster.

Yelich, entering his age-26 season, has posted back-to-back 4.5 fWAR seasons. He would automatically give the Astros one of the best outfields in baseball along with George Springer, Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick. Plus, Yelich is under contract through 2021 with a $15 million club option for 2022.

Realmuto, near his age-27 season, has posted a 7.1 fWAR in the past two seasons. Based on the offensive metrics, Realmuto has been a slightly above-average major league hitter for his career. However, he does provide some pop in the lineup evidenced by his 17 home runs last season. Realmuto’s calling card has been his defense, which has been quite solid since his debut. At Baseball Prospectus, Realmuto posted a FRAA — Fielding Runs Above Average — of 14.5 in 2017. That was the sixth-best in baseball, trailing only Austin Hedges, Tyler Flowers, Martin Maldonado, Yasmani Grandal and Caleb Joseph in the category. Brian McCann and Evan Gattis didn’t crack the top-fifty in this category. Like Yelich, Realmuto is under team control for quite some time. In his particular case, he is under team control through 2020.

The timing may be prime for the Astros in a way. After all, both players have expressed reluctance to stay in Miami. Derek Jeter‘s front office has made sure of that. And Yelich’s agent recently expressed that the relationship between his client and the Marlins is “irretrievably broken” as he told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. This could force the Marlins’ hand and accept lesser prospects to rid themselves of a potentially awkward situation in Spring Training.

Again, this is a long shot.

A complete long shot that is not likely to ever happen.

The Marlins, even with their faults, know the value that Yelich and Realmuto possess. A king’s ransom would be the package needed to pry them from South Beach. Whitley and Tucker would likely be the starting points in any trade discussion. Other prospects held in high regard would be almost assuredly be mentioned. Like I stated earlier though, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Next: Which prospects could figure into the 2018 season?

If the Astros were able to execute a trade of this magnitude, their place atop of baseball couldn’t be questioned. Without a doubt, this would be the best team, on paper, that this franchise has ever assembled. Regardless, this still remains a pipe dream. No doubt. But it doesn’t hurt to dream.

**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus and Spotrac**