Earlier on Tuesday, J.T. Realmuto’s agent Jeff Berry appeared on the Swings and Mishes podcast with Craig Mish and stated the obvious: an offseason trade would be a “win-win” for both J.T. and the Marlins. He wants to compete for a World Series title, while the club doesn’t feel comfortable paying market value on a long-term extension. The divorce seems inevitable.
Just a few hours later, Mish reports some progress on the trade front:
Sources indicate Braves discussions with Marlins for Realmuto include a pkg built around 3B Austin Riley & P Michael Soroka. Marlins are still listening to offers from other clubs.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 4, 2018
Sources familiar with the situation tell Fish Stripes that while third baseman Austin Riley is “100 percent” in the Braves’ proposal, right-hander Mike Soroka is a more flexible piece. There is a scenario where Soroka is swapped out for two slightly lesser prospects, making it a 3-for-1 deal.
Conveniently, Baseball America just updated their Braves Top 10 prospects list (subscription required).
Here’s more info about top-ranked Riley (age 21, 6’3”/220 lbs):
Riley’s plus-plus raw power has always been his best attribute. He has the potential to hit 25-30 home runs regularly in the majors. Riley generates consistent loud contact. He has a pull-heavy approach when he gets into advantageous counts but has the strength and power to drive the ball out to right and right-center field. Riley’s pull-heavy approach leads to strikeouts, but he has always managed to stay on the right side of the line that separates free-swingers who can’t hit from those who can hit enough to get to their power. Riley’s bat-to-ball skills give him a chance to be an average hitter to go with his excellent power. He’s shown an ability to make adjustments. His swing is more direct to the ball, and he has sped up his hands as a pro. Defensively, Riley’s conditioning and work has helped him turn himself into a plus defender. His plus-plus arm is his best attribute, but he also has developed the quick feet and quick hands scouts look for at third base. His quickness is more of the first-step variety because his raw speed is below-average.
And third-ranked Soroka (age 21, 6’5”/225 lbs):
Soroka attacks hitters with a sinker/slider combination that generates more weak contact than strikeouts. He mixes a plus 92-94 mph two-seamer that he works down and in to right-handed hitters with a 92-94 mph four-seamer that he elevates. He is at his best when he’s keeping the ball down, which sets up his above-average 85-87 mph slider that he turned into a harder, sharper pitch in 2018. Soroka mixes in an average changeup sporadically against left-handed hitters. What makes it all work is Soroka’s plus control and above-average command. He has a clean delivery and has long impressed with his competitive, mature makeup.
The latter started five games in the major leagues in 2018 (25.2 IP, 3.51 ERA, 2.85 FIP). He also missed significant time due to a shoulder issue (the service time accumulated while on the disabled list costs him rookie eligibility, though he’s still considered a prospect). Riley finished strong with Triple-A Gwinnett and figures to break through to The Show next year.
Jon Heyman of Fancred offers a conflicting report that the teams have had “no serious trade discussions” recently. Under the impression that Realmuto would likely be traded outside the division, the Braves signed veteran Brian McCann last month.
The Rockies also have interest, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, but we’re unaware of any specific prospects being on the table. Same circumstances with the Mets. Tim Healey of Newsday specifies that, in addition to conventional farmhands, the Marlins desire players who have graduated from prospect status:
The Mets and Marlins are talking about a potential J.T. Realmuto trade, source says, but the Mets' package would have to include at least one young major league piece.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) December 4, 2018
Infielder Jeff McNeil and outfielder Brandon Nimmo would seem like logical targets. Both ranked among New York’s most valuable players last season. Shortstop Amed Rosario is younger than either of them and had flashes of brilliance during the second half, plus he fits an obvious position of need.
Long believed to be the most motivated Realmuto suitor, the Astros acquired some insurance on Tuesday by agreeing to a one-year deal with catcher Robinson Chirinos (h/t Brian McTaggart, MLB.com). Chirinos is coming off a summer as the Rangers’ primary catcher, though he profiles more as a high-quality backup heading into his age-35 season.
Needless to say, now is the appropriate time to be building for the future because this division is stacked right now.