*Big news out of Marlins FanFest (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one) when SiriusXM's Craig Mish (whose takes are noteworthy, for what it's worth) said the Astros were involved in trade talks for Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto. A Marlins team spokesperson - likely Derek Jeter speaking in falsetto - said the information was "inaccurate," though Mish said he "respectfully disagreed."
So what is it about Realmuto?
Thirty-three catchers got 300 PAs in 2017. Realmuto ranked 3rd among them (tied with Seattle's Mike Zunino) in fWAR with 3.6, behind Remember The Titans-Era Ryan Gosling-esque Defensive Liability Gary Sanchez and Old Ass Buster Posey. Interestingly enough he and Evan Gattis had an exact same 105 wRC+. Difference is that Realmuto will be 27 in March, and Gattis will be 32 in August. McCann has a $15m club option for 2019. Gattis is a free agent after the 2019 season. Realmuto - who will make $2.9m in 2018 - provides a low-cost solution at catcher the Astros could use after trading Jake Rogers for Justin Verlander, as he comes into his prime years. Realmuto won't be a free agent until 2021. But how do you divvy up plate appearances and reps for three catchers over the course of a whole season?
But that's not for me to decide. /sips tea
That said, the Astros didn't give up Tucker in deals for Verlander or Gerrit Cole. So the Jeters can kindly piss off and take what the Astros are willing to allow.
*The Astros' personal World Series piñata, Yu Darvish, was just given 6yrs/$126m by the Cubs. Chicago Media is currently setting aside their kleenex and vaseline to bang out article after article crowning the Cubs as 2018 World Series champs. For instance, David Haugh:
At this stage of Darvish's career, he seldom will pitch past the seventh inning, but the Cubs rarely will require it given the depth of their bolstered bullpen. They still might miss Wade Davis but veterans Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek, along with holdover Carl Edwards, Jr., offer enough options for pressure situations. Now more high-pressure, high-profile situations are to come after the Cubs consummated this ideal deal - one with potential short-term rewards that outweigh concerns over the long-term risks.
Or maybe Steve Rosenbloom catches your eye:
This year, then, at this point, I think we can say this: Ladies and gentlemen, your NL champion Chicago Cubs...At least. Maybe it should be amended to call them World Series favorites.
*Yahoo's Mark Townsend: Does the Darvish signing indicate that there's an MLB Elite class, and then everybody else?
I would say that the MLB Elite Class - the teams who are expected to do very well in 2018 - would include (in no particular order after the first listed): Houston, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington. Yes, Milwaukee (Houston Lite) is on the verge of something big, but they were gunning for NL Central supremacy and, in the short term, the Darvish signing bolsters the Cubs. Knowing full well that there are many free agents left unsigned, here are my Feb 10 favorites:
AL East: New York
AL Central: Cleveland
AL West: Houston
NL East: Washington
NL Central: Chicago
NL West: Los Angeles
None of these are #bold #predictions.
*Dale Robertson takes us back through the major Houston Sports trades.