One of the longest winding storylines of the 2018-19 offseason finally reached its finale last Thursday when the Marlins traded catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for three prospects and an international bonus slot.
The Yankees were included in the Realmuto fray early in the offseason, as they were linked as a third team in a trade that would have flipped Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx and Realmuto to Flushing.
We knew the Marlins wanted Miguel Andújar, but now have heard from both Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that Miami also wanted Gary Sánchez to round out any trade package.
“The Yankees were not about to give up both Andújar and Sánchez for Realmuto, the ask first reported by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. They would not even have done Sánchez for Realmuto even up, much as the Dodgers would not have done [Cody] Bellinger for Realmuto even up. Sánchez is under control for four more seasons – twice as long as Realmuto – and Bellinger five.”Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic
Rosenthal goes on to note that there might have been “a bigger deal that might have included infielder Miguel Rojas and potentially another piece along with Realmuto if the talks had gained traction”.
“Rojas would have made sense for the Yankees at short while Didi Gregorius recovered from Tommy John surgery, then could have served as a utility infielder. But the Yankees did not consider Rojas much of a sweetener, and later signed free agent Troy Tulowitzki as a stopgap at short and DJ LeMahieu as a super utility man.”Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic
I think it’s pretty reasonable that the Yankees did not create a hole at third base in order to acquire a marginal upgrade behind the plate. Sánchez had an awful 2018 campaign but seems poised to rebound after a nagging left shoulder injury was surgically repaired. Betting on a Sánchez rebound with his four years of control is more prudent than giving him up for what would be the two most expensive arbitration years of Realmuto.
Trading Andújar would have put the Yankees in a precarious position as they searched for a hot corner replacement. They could go all-out in their pursuit of Manny Machado, flip Gleyber Torres back to third base or gone down a different avenue. If this proposed Andújar-Sánchez package was flipped to Miami, it’s safe to assume they would have ended up with more talent than LeMahieu and Tulowitzki.
Thankfully, there’s no need to speculate on what dominoes would fall should the Yankees pull the trigger on a Realmuto deal. He’ll report to Philadelphia Phillies camp in Clearwater, and not Yankees camp in Tampa.