Politics has gotten stupid this week, so we’re going to talk some more about Baseball. The Marlins are currently trying to become as bad/low-cost as possible, so one of the major story lines has been if they will trade JT Realmuto. I’m not sure Realmuto is one of the best players in the game (which seems like where the Marlins had him valued most of the off-season), but he is one of the best Catchers in the game in a Catcher drought.
I think my basic take is this: I’m glad the Braves didn’t trade for him, but I’m disappointed the Phillies ended up with him. The Marlins initial asking price initially included Ozzie Albies, which is obscene. I saw some speculation that the Marlins were trying to make-up for undervaluing Giancarlo Stanton last year, and I’m glad AA didn’t fall for that. Supposedly the Braves later said no to Ian Anderson and Austin Riley once the price came down later. I have no problem with that, as they are both high-ceiling players who I wouldn’t want to play on a division rival down the road.
At the same time, the Phillies continue to improve, and you have to think they’re probably still going to add either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. That line-up is going to be tough to knock off this season. I don’t know what AA still has up his sleeves. Maybe Craig Kimbrel is still in play if the price settles down. Maybe there’s another move to improve the pitching staff or bullpen we don’t know about yet (Madison Bumgarner? Corey Kluber?). I’m glad the Braves didn’t overpay to get Realmuto, but it still feels like unless everything happens to fall together perfectly with this line-up, they still have some moves to make if they’re going to repeat as Division Champions in 2019.
So, what would this current line-up need to repeat as is? It probably involves at least most of:
- Dansby Swanson would need to hit better or risk Camargo taking over SS.
- Ozzie Albies would need to improve his R/L splits.
- Nick Markakis looks like his early 2018 instead of basically the rest of his tenure in Atlanta.
- Sean Newcomb needs to shake off his second-half stuggles from last year.
- Find solid production at Spots 4 and 5 in the rotation between Julio Teheran and the young guys (Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Bryse Wilson, Luiz Gohara, etc.
- More overall productivity out of the bullpen.
Is all of that possible. I think so, since all of those players except Markakis and Teheran are young and conceivably have room for development. Is it reasonable to assume all of these things will happen though? I obviously don’t know what to expect from these players, but that seems like a very uncertain notion. I would guess AA thinks more teams will be sellers at a better price once we’re in the season and thinks this team can wait until then, and that seems like a fair guess.