It is no surprise that J.T. Realmuto is the (realistic) prize of the offseason for the Tampa Bay Rays. By now, everyone who is not living under a rock knows about J.T. Realmuto (If you are living under a rock, I am sorry, that can not be comfortable).
Realmuto is flatly the best catcher in baseball and is under team control for two more years.
The Rays desperately need a permanent, reliable backstop. After shipping off Wilson Ramos to the Phillies in the middle of last year, as he eventually signed with the Mets this offseason, the Rays are searching for a stable catcher.
Yes Mariners fans, Mike Zunino is good. I am actually excited about the Zunino acquisition and feel like Rays fans have let that quality move fall under the radar. But add the best catcher in baseball, and it is an upgrade, obviously, and it results in great depth. Or–and more likely–the Marlins could take Zunino back in a potential trade to keep that catcher spot afloat, after all, Zunino is good…
How can they pull this off? Well, the Marlins are far away, despite new ownership and a rebrand (again) of their uniforms and logos, they need to stockpile the farm system. The Rays have one of the best farms in all of baseball (Why do we call them farm systems? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter)
How many games did the Rays miss the playoffs by? Oh yeah, seven.
Let me check my book of notes, what was J.T. Realmuto’s WAR a year ago? EIGHT.
A less talked about potential move is the Rays going out and getting Jose Martinez, who the advanced metrics community absolutely adores, to fill that first base spot voided by C.J. Cron and Jake Bauers.
Jose Martinez is a versatile player that can spend time in the outfield, as well as manning first base. With the Cardinals trading for the best first baseman in baseball this offseason, they may be inclined to deal Martinez.
The Cardinals are in win now mode, trading for Goldschmidt and hoping for a bounce-back year from who was once a dominant closer by signing Andrew Miller.
Their outfield has a bit of a logjam littered with Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler, and a pair of young guns in Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader who are both under 25 and hit over .250 a year ago.
Jose Martinez owns a career slash line of .305/.364/.457 with 31 career home runs featuring a career high in homers a year ago with 17 dingers in 152-games. Martinez is a 3.1 WAR player for his career, with a 1.5 WAR a year ago. While he is 30 years ago, Jose Martinez got a late start and is under club control until 2023.