MLB Trade Rumors: Buzz Surrounding J.T. Realmuto and Top Players Available

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

MLB All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto of the Miami Marlins watches the flight of his three-run home-run off All Japan's pitcher Masaru Sato in the eighth inning of Game 2 of their All-Stars Series baseball at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)
Toru Takahashi/Associated Press

In just over a month, the MLB offseason witnessed a handful of trades involving high-profile players. 

Seattle did most of the dealing, as it offloaded Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and James Paxton, among others, while Arizona hopped in on the deal-making by shipping Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis. 

In the coming days and weeks, we could see a few other top-notch players change teams, as the rumor mill is heating up, especially around Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. 

There's also an increased amount of buzz on the pitching market after Patrick Corbin became the first top free agent to sign in Washington. 

Some of the rumored deals mentioned below could occur at the Winter Meetings, which begin Sunday in Las Vegas. 

                  

J.T. Realmuto

Almost half of the teams in the MLB have expressed some sort of interest in Miami catcher Realmuto, who was one of the few stars the franchise didn't offload last offseason. 

According to Fancred's Jon Heyman, 14 teams have interest in the catcher, who hit 21 home runs and knocked in 74 runs in 2018, both of which were career highs. 

Three teams from the NL East and NL West are mentioned in Heyman's report, with the NL East teams showing interest because of their familiarity with Realmuto. 

The Athletic's Jim Bowden helped narrow the market for Realmuto a bit, as he noted five teams that are in on Realmuto, while he listed another quintet that's been less aggressive in trade talks.

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Of the teams Bowden mentioned in the first category, the New York Mets are an intriguing option because they've proved to be key players on the trade market from the Robinson Cano-Edwin Diaz deal with Seattle. 

Philadelphia has big ambitions in the free agency, and it could be willing to make a splash through a trade with a division rival while chasing the big names out on the open market. 

Realmuto would clearly be an upgrade in Atlanta, but the Braves just added veteran Brian McCann to complement Tyler Flowers at the position.

If the Braves believe Realmuto is a player they must trade for, they'll find a way for their situation to work. 

The Rays are in a difficult position in the AL East, as they try to catch up with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and Realmuto could be the piece they need to improve their standing. 

San Diego is in the same situation as Atlanta, as the Padres aren't in need of a catcher, but if they figure out a deal for Realmuto, it'll be an upgrade at the position. 

Of course, one of the five teams not as aggressive in trade talks could up their interest in the coming days, but that might depend on other deals across the league. 

                 

Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber

Cleveland starting pitchers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber have been mentioned in trade talks for most of the offseason, but they weren't part of the Indians' first offseason move involving a starter. 

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The Indians solidified one spot in their rotation by signing Carlos Carrasco to an extension, and as The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal told MLB Network there are some complexities to deals featuring Bauer and Kluber. 

"Perhaps the Winter Meetings will start to provide some answers," Rosenthal said. "They're different pitchers at different ages at different salaries and different level of control. It'll just be a matter of the Indians weighing the possibilities and seeing what they can get for each." 

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan also reported the Indians are more motivated to move Bauer or Kluber following the Carrasco extension, with plenty of trade options available. 

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Indians are trying to trade Bauer more, with Kluber still in the picture as well. 

While breaking down potential packages for the pair of star pitchers, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince mentioned Atlanta has more interest in Kluber than Bauer, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have had conversations regarding both players.

Another scenario circling around the potential deals for Bauer and Kluber is the inclusion of infielders Jason Kipnis and Edwin Encarnacion. 

Rosenthal mentioned in his report that Kipnis or Encarnacion could be dealt alongside one of the pitchers, but it would diminish Cleveland's return.

"Those are two guys with inflated contracts the Indians would like to move as well," Rosenthal said. "There has been some talk of attaching a Kipnis to a Bauer or something along those lines to clear more salary, but if you do that, you're going to lessen your returns." 

If that's the case, it would be wise of the Indians to keep the discussions to just Bauer and Kluber in order to earn the best return and not revamp its entire list of star players. 

                       

Madison Bumgarner

The market for San Francisco Giants left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner grew recently after Corbin went off the free-agent market. 

Philadelphia was hoping to sign Corbin to a long-term deal, but because they missed out, they've spoken with the Giants about a potential trade, while Milwaukee has also reached out with interest, per MLB Network's Jon Morosi

The risk involving a deal for Bumgarner is he's two years removed from his last double-digit win season. 

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Over the last two seasons, the 29-year-old has a 10-16 record in 240.2 innings over 38 starts. 

Bumgarner's strikeout total also dwindled, as he recorded 210 punch outs over the last two seasons after striking out 251 batters in 2016.

If the teams interested in the southpaw believe he's capable of bouncing back, then he's worth the risk, but the Giants might not be able to get an ideal return until the pitching market dries up. 

                      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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