NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets want J.T. Realmuto. They want him so much they have even considered the unthinkable.
According to multiple reports, representatives of the Mets, Miami Marlins and Yankees were up late Monday night at the winter meetings in Las Vegas discussing a potential blockbuster trade that would send Realmuto to the Mets, Noah Syndergaard to the pitching-needy Yankees and, presumably, many high-end prospects to the ever-rebuilding Marlins.
The idea of the Mets making a deal of this magnitude with the Yankees likely gives many Amazins’ fans pause, but it does fit in with new general manager Brodie Van Waganen’s recent missive that he’ll do whatever is necessary to make the Mets contenders in 2019.
But trading a pitcher of Syndergaard’s ability and age to the hated Yankees? There has to be another way, no?
“We’re going to keep the gas pedal down, and hope that we can accomplish our goals,” Van Wagenen said. “Whether that’s today, tomorrow or a month from now, we’re not going to stop until we feel like we’ve accomplished what we wanted to.”
Early Tuesday morning, reports indicated the Mets and Yankees were still talking, potentially about pitching, but the fact remains at the top of Van Waganen’s wish list is a big-time catcher, something Realmuto was throughout the 2018 season.
The 27-year-old hit .277 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs, was named to the All-Star team and earned his first Silver Slugger Award. Realmuto is considered a well-above average defender and is one of the most athletic backstop’s in the majors.
In the event that a Realmuto deal doesn’t happen, the Mets have already spoken to free agent Wilson Ramos and have been linked to free agents Martin Maldonado and Yasmani Grandal, among others.
The Mets have also made it no secret that they would trade Syndergaard in the right deal, though they have clarified in recent days that it would take a significant haul to part with a pitcher who can be utterly dominant every time he takes the mound. Syndergaard went 13-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 25 starts this past season and is 37-22 with a 2.93 ERA over his first four seasons.
The fact that the Yankees have targeted Syndergaard should come as a surprise to no one. General manager Brian Cashman has long had an affinity with young pitchers with controllable contracts. Syndergaard is only 26 and is not scheduled to reach free agency until after the 2021 season. Last month, the Yankees traded for left-hander James Paxton, who is under team control through the 2020 season.
What’s more, Cashman has drawn a line in the sand on free agents. Though the Yankees desperately wanted to add Patrick Corbin to a rotation that features Luis Severino, Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka, they reportedly refused to offer more than a five-year contract. The veteran left-hander eventually signed with the Washington Nationals for six years and $140 million.
The same sort of scenario played out with free agent Nathan Eovaldi. The Yankees reportedly stuck to their guns on a three-year contract and the hard-throwing right-hander signed a four-year, $68 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.
And the latest reports suggest Cashman doesn’t want to go more than two years with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who was stellar with the Yankees after coming over in a late-July trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Happ, 36, remains on the Yankees’ radar, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume someone will give him that third year.
The Yankees also have a serious interest in Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber, but so far reports indicate the Indians’ asking price for the two-time Cy Young Award winner has been too rich for Cashman’s blood.
The winter meetings run through Thursday.