6:55pm: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that it’s unlikely the Mets would include Conforto in a trade for Realmuto.
5:35pm: Trade chatter surrounding J.T. Realmuto will persist throughout the offseason following the definitive declaration that he won’t be signing an extension with the Marlins. While the Marlins reportedly have a preference to trade Realmuto outside of the division, Andy Martino of SNY writes that the Mets are looking into Realmuto now that they officially have Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz on board. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, in fact, reports that the Mets reached out on Realmuto earlier today and are being “aggressive” in their pursuit (Twitter links).
Newsday’s Tim Healey tweets that the belief is that the Mets would have to include at least one young Major Leaguer in order to pry Realmuto loose from Miami, and Rosenthal suggests the same. (The Mets subtracted a pair of high-end prospects from its system when trading outfielder Jarred Kelenic and right-hander Justin Dunn to Seattle in the Cano/Diaz swap.) Martino speculated that Amed Rosario’s name could come into play, and Rosenthal adds both Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto as the type of talents that could pique Miami’s interest. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Mets would have any actual interest in dealing from that promising young trio. More specifically Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that Rosario and Nimmo would be Miami’s top two targets in talks.
The Mets already tendered contracts to both Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud, though either could be traded elsewhere or designated for assignment anyway, should the organization land an upgrade in the form of Realmuto. (Speculatively, either could also be sent back to Miami as a short-term stopgap in the absence of Realmuto.)
Elsewhere in the NL East (which, to this point, has been the runaway most active division in terms of offseason activity), Craig Mish of SiriusXM tweets that the Phillies have inquired on Realmuto but are considered to be a long shot. The Phils presently have Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp as in-house catching options now that Wilson Ramos is a free agent, and they’ve been aggressive early this winter, already acquiring Jean Segura and James Pazos from the Mariners.
Mish also suggests that the Braves have inquired on Realmuto, although both David O’Brien of The Athletic and Heyman have tweeted otherwise. O’Brien indicates that he was somewhat bluntly told there’s no validity to the report that Austin Riley and Mike Soroka have come up in discussions, while Heyman reports that the Braves haven’t even engaged on any serious Realmuto talks this winter. O’Brien further adds that the Braves have shifted their focus to adding a corner outfielder and shoring up the pitching staff (Twitter links).
Looking outside the NL East, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets that the Rockies have checked in on the catcher — although talks between the two sides, to this point, have failed to progress. Colorado would make a perfectly logical landing spot, though, given that none of Chris Iannetta, Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy stands out as an obvious front-line option. The Rockies also have plenty of young pitching — much of it MLB-ready, which would surely be of interest to the Marlins as they continue to build for the future.
It’s worth remembering, too, that the clubs here likely only represent a fraction of the market for Realmuto. Heyman notes that 14 teams have inquired with the Marlins about Realmuto this winter, and while clearly not all of those clubs will be particularly aggressive in their pursuit, the sheer volume underscores how many teams view the All-Star backstop as a potential difference maker. A trade isn’t necessarily guaranteed, but it’s likely that Realmuto’s value is at its apex this winter. The Marlins surely know that their time with Realmuto is limited following comments from agent Jeff Berry and, per Mish, a pair of rejected extension offers of four and five years in length (both at prices that are nowhere near Realmuto’s actual market value).