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Imagining a 3-team J.T. Realmuto/Noah Syndergaard blockbuster

This proposal gets J.T. to New York, Thor to the other side of New York, and all of you making better suggestions in the comments section. Gotta love the Winter Meetings.

J.T. Realmuto and Drew Steckenrider are all smiles about the opportunity to join contending teams
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

An absolutely insane trade rumor surfaced from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas on Monday night. More importantly, this one has some legs to it, confirmed and detailed by more than a handful of MLB insiders including Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman, Joe Frisaro, Tim Healey, Andy Martino and Mike Puma. The general framework: J.T. Realmuto to the Mets, Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees and...other stuff to the Marlins.

Rosenthal and Sherman both suggest that new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen—formerly an agent who represented Syndergaard, among others—is the driving force behind the unorthodox configuration. Three-team trades happen, and Realmuto was widely understood to be available, but:

  1. The New York franchises simply do not do business with one another; the last trade they made involving major league players happened in December 2004.
  2. Thor is nearly as valuable an asset as Realmuto and had been pencilled into the No. 2 spot of next season’s projected Mets starting rotation. Why would a franchise that’s “going for it” make that kind of subtraction?
  3. This keeps Realmuto inside the NL East, which is reportedly a big turn-off for the Marlins.

Frisaro and Healey caution us that this Miami/New York/New York scenario is a long shot. There are other packages being discussed, such as one where the Yankees would acquire the All-Star catcher for themselves.

But you can’t put the worms back in the can—fans are fixated on the potential three-team blockbuster and trying to understand how all parties involved would benefit.

Fish Stripes presents a solution with 12 players, millions of dollars and serious medical concerns that might not totally suck.

The Trade

Marlins acquire: OF Clint Frazier and RHP Deivi García (from Yankees) and SS Andres Gimenez, C Tomás Nido and LHP Thomas Szapucki (from Mets)

Mets acquire: C J.T. Realmuto, RHP Dan Straily and $5 million cash considerations (from Marlins) and RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (from Yankees)

Yankees acquire: RHP Noah Syndergaard and LHP Jason Vargas (from Mets) and RHP Drew Steckenrider and 1B/DH Lazaro Alonso (from Marlins)

The Rationale—Marlins

Clint Frazier
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The 24-year-old Frazier has seen his career stalled by concussions and the lack of opportunity in the Yankees major league outfield. Health permitting, playing time wouldn’t be an obstacle in Miami. A .238/.295/.429 hitter through 54 games at the highest level, he’s a lock to improve upon that over a larger sample. Once among MLB’s very best outfield prospects, Frazier immediately becomes the top power threat on the 2019 team, controllable through the 2023 season.

Andres Gimenez, the consensus No. 1 player in the Mets system, serves as a co-centerpiece from the Marlins’ perspective. The shortstop position is a huge question for the organization at the moment, and Gimenez would address that. The Venezuelan native could force his way to Marlins Park by September with his extremely well-rounded skill set.

At worst, Nido is a cheap placeholder behind the plate, but even modest development with the bat makes him a serviceable starter at the major league level. García (small stature) and Szapucki (arm injuries) come with real concerns yet substantial upside.

The Rationale—Mets

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

New York can hold onto Amed Rosario, who had been coveted by the Fish in earlier trade talks. Rosario and Robinson Canó up the middle made Gimenez somewhat expendable, anyway. Despite improvement during the second half of the season, Vargas is a negative asset—$8 million salary in 2019 plus $2 million buyout on 2020 option—that the Mets would prefer to dump, perhaps to reallocate those funds in free agency.

Realmuto dramatically improves their production at a vulnerable position. He’d be the best catcher that they’ve had since Mike Piazza left. Even a slight regression from 2018 could mean an extra two or three wins for a club in what figures to be in an extraordinarily tight divisional race.

Van Wagenen has emphasized this throughout the Winter Meetings: “We’re not going to create a hole by filling another.” Straily is actually a better bet than Syndergaard to take the ball every fifth day; he had never spent time on the disabled list prior to 2018. Loaisiga provides Thor-like swing-and-miss ability (30.6 K% as a Yankee) with several extra years of control.

The cash considerations reflect Straily’s approximate 2019 salary (second year of arbitration eligibility).

The Rationale—Yankees

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Without lifting a finger this offseason, the Bombers look to be extremely well-positioned offensively. Even at catcher, Gary Sánchez is a bounce-back candidate after a summer in which he was victimized by tough luck on batted balls.

So they can continue bolstering the pitching staff. A Severino/Syndergaard/Paxton/Tanaka/Sabathia starting rotation has a strong case for being the best in Major League Baseball. The Yankees also replace one of their impact free-agent relievers with the controllable Steckenrider. His first full campaign in the majors included a scoreless month of June (14 appearances) and terrific results overall whenever he was not facing the Atlanta Braves. They can bring Vargas to spring training as another relief option—plenty of soft-tossing lefties before him have made that conversion successfully.

Parting with so many of their promising young pieces and absorbing a bad contract gets them Alonso from the Marlins as a wild card. The Cuban slugger—who to this point in his career, hasn’t done much slugging (.259/.364./378, 9 HR in 149 minor league games)—profiles as a better fit in an American League organization.


Which team "wins" this trade?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Marlins (Frazier, García, Gimenez, Nido & Szapucki)
    (40 votes)
  • 8%
    Mets (Realmuto, Straily, Loaisiga & cash)
    (29 votes)
  • 59%
    Yankees (Syndergaard, Vargas, Steckenrider & Alonso)
    (193 votes)
  • 19%
    Good deal for all involved
    (64 votes)
326 votes total Vote Now