Let’s revisit the possibility of the Astros trading for J.T. Realmuto.
The Astros are interested in trading for J.T. Realmuto, which is not a secret. The Miami Marlins are rumored to be asking for top prospect Kyle Tucker. Most fans and analysts would be shocked if the Astros were to actually do it.
It is a fact that while Houston doesn’t necessarily need another catcher, but you can always get better. Brian McCann posted a 1.6 fWAR and Evan Gattis had a WAR of 0.9 fWAR compared to Realmuto’s 3.6 fWAR. McCann slashed a .241/.323/.436 while Gattis hit a little better line. 263/.311/.457. Compared to Realmuto who hit an increasingly better .278/.332/.451. From a managerial standpoint, McCann is a better pitch placer and game caller, while Gattis has a slightly better and a younger bat. Another big difference maker is the McCann’s locker room presence in this young Astros’ locker room.
Let’s say putting all trade ideas on the side, if the Astros end up with Realmuto, what would happen to the lineup? McCann and Realmuto would switch off catching, with Realmuto receiving the bulk of the starts. They both have different pros and cons while in the line up. Gattis could be part of the trade back to Miami or he could become the Astros’ everyday DH. If the situation ever arose, Gattis could also spot start at catcher if the circumstances dictated such a move.
Now going back to how the Astros can end up with Realmuto.
In addition to the Astros’ Realmuto interests, the Orioles are interested in a Astros’ pitcher, specifically Collin McHugh.
Would a three-team trade be possible?
It is not a secret the Marlins would like to get rid of Starlin Castro‘s $10 million plus contract. Would the Marlins agree to trade Realmuto to Houston for two prospects? How about for J.B. Bukauskas and Yordan Alvarez, both top prospects in the Astros’ system? Maybe the Astros could also add in Gattis, who could be a temporary catcher for the Marlins while they continue their rebuild. In addition, the Marlins could give Castro and his sizeable contract to the Orioles and the Astros would then trade McHugh and maybe a lower end prospect in exchange to Baltimore? The Orioles could send the Astros a relief pitcher, like Zach Britton or Darren O’Day
Does this add up? Would all the teams do it?
If I were Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow, that is a win-win. Alvarez’s path to the big leagues in the Astros organization is a little bit blocked because of Yuli Gurriel at first base and Tucker being the higher, more coveted prospect in an Astros’ outfield with limited space. For the Marlins, Bukauskas would be the pitching prospect they need given that their minor league pitching staff is lacking some stud talent.
The Marlins would get Castro’s money off their boat, and will continue to rebuild getting two top prospects from the Astros minor league teams. Like I previously remarked, Gattis could be included to sweeten the deal.
The Orioles would get a great defensive infielder who is also an above average hitter with Castro, and also get McHugh, a solid mid-rotation pitcher.
Is the trade possible? Yes, but unlikely.
The Orioles front office has a history of being difficult to deal with. The Astros have a first hand proof of it last summer when they were closing in on trading for Britton. Would it be a great trade for the Astros? Yes, we would be strengthening both the catching and relief depth. The team would become younger at catcher and add another strong arm in the bullpen. If it is Britton, you hope that bounces back to full health. Of course, there is the complicating matter of Britton’s impending free agency following the 2018 season to consider in any deal. O’Day could be a more attractive option as his contract runs through the 2019 season. Even though the Astros are already of the most elite teams baseball has seen, a trade of this magnitude sure as hell makes them even better.
McCann would also be able to age a little slower. The Astros receive a solid catcher, which would give the team one of the better catching duos in baseball. They also strengthen the bullpen which would help the Astros on their journey being the first team since the Yankees in the late 1990’s to win back-to-back World Series championships. The Marlins continue their rebuilding goal. And the Orioles would strengthen their slim chances on becoming playoff contenders in 2018. Seems good to me.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs**