J.T. Realmuto Trade a Possibility for Padres?

Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres are a team on the rise, but would the addition of J.T. Realmuto help take the Friars to a whole new level?

I know, Austin Hedges is supposed to be the future of the team. However, he is currently shelved with an elbow injury and his swing still looks long and unproductive. There are valid concerns that he will never be able to hit major league pitching consistently. You get a sense that even the front office is beginning to worry.

Having Hedges’ defensive prowess behind the dish is tempting no matter what he produces with the bat, but with a lineup constructed of young players, it can be downright frustrating watching him give away at-bats. The Padres need stability on offense as well as defense when it is all said and done. Especially if they do plan on being a competitive team.

J.T. Realmuto is the last player of any current value from the Marlins’ tear-down. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich were all dealt in the winter as the Marlins cut payroll dramatically. Realmuto is only making $2.9 million this season, so he was not seen as a priority to be moved.

Times might have changed, as there are rumblings that Realmuto could be made available relatively soon by Miami. Currently he is hitting .322 with a .389 on base percentage. His five homers and 11 RBI have translated to a 1.2 WAR so far this year. He has also put up a .928 OPS. The backstop is a great offensive threat in the middle of a lineup from the right-handed batter’s box, and the 27-year-old could get even better with more experience.

The offensive numbers from Realmuto show a nice improvement each year since 2015, when he first received consistent playing time for the Marlins. He put up a .259/.290/.406 batting line with 10 homers and 47 RBI (.696 OPS) that first season, where he was widely regarded as a defensive catcher. The next year, he put up a .303/.343/.428 batting line with 11 home runs and 48 RBI (.771 OPS), showing offensive ability. Last season, his batting numbers improved to a .278/.332./451 slash line with 17 homers and 65 RBI (.783 OPS), as he improved with his approach at the plate. Realmuto can really swing the bat.

The 6-foot-1, former 3rd round pick in 2010 is far more than just a bat though. Pitchers rave about his game-calling skills and his ability to communicate. Sound familiar? I’m not saying he is Austin Hedges, but he does have an ability to catch and throw. He was regarded as a defensive-first catcher when he entered the league and put up a 1.4 defensive WAR in 2015. In fact, Realmuto threw out 32% and 35% of would-be base stealers the past two seasons. The major league average is 27%. In 2018, he has gunned down 42% base runners, which is very impressive.

Credit: NBC 7

Realmuto is a stud. He would easily improve the Padres, but what would be the cost, and do the Padres really need to upgrade at catcher?

A Proposed Offer

The San Diego Padres surely have the resources to get a deal done. The farm system is loaded with talent and the Padres even have major league-ready players who could be moved in the right situation. Carlos Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg, Hunter Renfroe, and Travis Jankowski could all be attained.

The question is do the Marlins want players to compete now for playing time, or do they want prospects to build around.

Should Austin Hedges, himself, be in a proposed offer to the Marlins for Realmuto? With the Padres’ luck as it has been historically, Hedges would go on to a Hall-of-Fame career after he was deal to Miami. For that reason, most fans would rather just let their prospects turn to mush than to deal an uncertainty.

The Padres have various prospects and major league-ready players that could entice the Marlins. The real question is if the team values Realmuto and if they are prepared to pay the hefty asking price.

The Verdict

Austin Hedges is a fan favorite, and at 25, still young enough to figure out his offensive issues. That is the belief.

The asking price for Realmuto will be high. Especially when contending teams start to desire catching upgrades for their playoff run. In the end, the Padres would probably be wiser to spend resources (traded players) on more pressing issues. The pitching staff always needs upgrading, and then there is the issue at shortstop that needs to be addressed beyond the 2018 season.

Austin Hedges is the Padres’ catcher of the future. They are invested in him, and at this point it would be foolish to change gears in that regard. Austin Allen and Luis Campusano are performing well in the minors and should be up eventually as well. The Padres have options internally if Hedges doesn’t work out in the long run. Realmuto is tempting, but at this point, the Padres need to stay the course and keep on developing the young players.

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James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.

This article has 12 Comments

  1. If we could get Realmuto for a reasonable prospect price the Padres should not hesitate. I think its clear that Hedges will never be an offensive force and talk of him being the answer at catcher needs to be reviewed. Realmuto is what we wish Hedges could be. Hedges is the next A. J. Ellis all defense no hit.. Ive seen enough to be moving on. Manuel Margot is another that I am close to moving on from. He needs to go back to the minors and learn to hit again. he has been atrocious and his defense is starting to suffer.

    1. Agree on all points John. Margot and Hedges both look like guys to me that management is letting their ego get in the way of reality. Let’s move on, if you get a chance at a guy like Realmuto just entering his prime, go for it.

  2. I think this would be a very solid upgrade for the team moving towards contending next season. Hedges should be retained also. Build Up the middle first, catcher, middle IF, CF. With Urias and Tatis on the way and many options for CF. We would have that core with solid UTL guys to back them up. Then we need to work on the corners and our Position players will be ready. A slight upgrade of a couple of starting pitchers for 2019 and we will be ready. Morton and Gonzalez in FA would be solid moves at $30 to $35 MIL per season combined. Morton for 3 years and and Gonzalez for 4 to 5 seasons. The Padres are close!!!!

  3. I too want the Pads to trade for Realmuto. In fact, I have been saying that for a while….. So who has trade value that another team would want? Manuel Margot! Since Travis Jankowski has come back from AAA, the whole world has seen what the young man can do as a lead off man and outfielder. Maybe he hasn’t shown yet what he can do against left handers but he has to play and learn. But we sure know how he fares versus rightys! He’s a keeper which makes Margot expendable. I’d also trade Cordero who we know is a terrible outfielder. Both Margot and Cordero would benefit from playing in Miami. While I know AJ Preller would not want to trade his own “kids,” he cannot continue to favor his guys over the rest of the roster. It’s all about performance. Besides, the Padres need room and playing time for Myers and Renfroe.

    1. To give up on Margot and Cordero is silly. Margot still profiles as a ML CF, and Cordero is a raw talent who will need development. You want to trade two guys with athleticism and high ceilings and keep Myers and Renfroe? Renfroe (26) will be traded as he is not a ML player, and Myers (27) was a terrible extension, inevitably requiring the team to pay some of his salary to trade him to some dumb team that collects DHs (Seattle or Baltimore anyone ?) You don’t trade young players (both 23) and keep aging prospects who strike out constantly.
      Your future OF might well be Jankowski, Margot, and Cordero, but will definitely not include both Myers and Renfroe.

    2. I’m fully on board with trading Margot, but I’d pump the brakes on sending Cordero down the road. I’d like to see Cordero, Jank and Renfroe across the outfield.

  4. One of the reasons this team has ranked last in hitting is the black hole at the catcher’s position. First Derek Norris, and now Hedges. It’s like we have two pitchers in the lineup.
    I don’t think Realmuto is the answer, but we need to reduce Hedges’ playing time, and find another catcher who can hit more consistently. Hedges was considered a terrible hitter way back in the draft, that’s why he didn’t go in the first round, despite his incredible defensive skills. He simply lacks the talent, and coaching is not going to change that.
    Trade proposals are always interesting, but let’s not pretend that anyone wants Spang or Asuaje. Renfroe would probably get a marginal prospect in return — it makes more sense to send him to El Paso and work on plate discipline.

  5. It would be a great idea to acquire Realmuto. The only question is whether giving up on Hedges is premature. He has never hit at any level outside of his PCL time. Unfortunately his plate approach sucks, and his swing is too long, resulting in too many strikeouts mixed in with the occasional homer, sound familiar? I mean what is going on with the batting coaches in this organization that so many guys profile the same useless way? Renfroe, Hedges, Schrimpf, Villanueva, Gyorko. All swing and miss guys.
    As for what to give up to bring in a proven major leaguer, well SD has the prospects, though I doubt Miami is interested in Spangenberg, Asuaje or Renfroe, I wouldn’t be. Fans often think that somehow our failed prospects have trade value for other organizations. They don’t. At their age and with their results they are throw ins, nothing more.
    Miami is going to be asking for Cordero or players like that, guys who have the legitimate possibility of being an all star.
    As useless as Hedges is with the stick a more pressing concern is 3B. There is a close to zero chance that Villanueva is the guy there. Already almost 27, not in great shape, pulls everything or tries to, strikes out constantly. Any trade should include a 3B prospect as the organization is empty at that position.
    How about getting Drury from the Yankees?

    1. I too believe moving Villanueva is the right thing todo right now, sell high. He has a history of injuries and his defense is downright scary. Hudson Potts is a 3B in house to keep an eye on.

    1. Lol yep…. And we’re still a “team on the rise”? Like the comment below, none of this really matters without pitching- and player development, which seems to elude anyone in a Padres’ uniform.

  6. Trading hedges is a distraction. Hes’ proven. respected, young with still a lot of offensive upside. Let’s concentrate on frontline pitching. That is a disaster in the making. Let’s get a real #1 starter. A staff that’s constructed to eat up innings is getting us nowhere. I think we need at least 3 front line pitchers and all we have right now is a box of crackerjacks. It’s been that way for ages!

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