Tag Archives: Derek Jeter

If J.T. Realmuto comes to the Phillies it will cost them top prospect Sixto Sanchez

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J.T. Realmuto is considered the top catcher in baseball today

It has been reported for days now that the Philadelphia Phillies have become one of a number of teams talking to the Miami Marlins regarding a trade for all-star J.T. Realmuto.

The catcher will turn 28-years-old on March 18, right in the middle of spring training. An Oklahoma native, Realmuto was the Marlins choice in the third round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school.
He reached Major League Baseball for a cup of coffee with the Fish in the 2010 season, and then became the club’s starting catcher the following season.
Last season, Realmuto emerged as a National League all-star for the first time, won the NL Silver Slugger Award for catchers, and became universally regarded as the top backstop in the game.

His numbers during that 2018 campaign included a .277/.340/.484 slash line with 21 home runs, 74 RBI, 74 RBI. It was his third consecutive season producing 30 or more doubles. Fangraphs statistical compilations reveal him to also be one of the top defensive catchers in the game today.
This afternoon, Marlins insider Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that in order to actually land Realmuto, the Phillies would have to include top prospect Sixto Sanchez in any deal.

Though it was unable to be confirmed by Frisaro, it is also believed that the Marlins would want catcher Jorge Alfaro as part of the package. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and CEO Derek Jeter are believed to be examining the Phillies minor league system for a possible third piece to the return package.
Frisaro reports that Miami would ideally like to get a deal done before their pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 13.
However, he also notes that all players on the club’s 40-man roster are required to attend Marlins Fest, which is scheduled for this coming Saturday and “it would be uncomfortable to have Realmuto at the ballpark if he is on the verge of being traded.
Realmuto is signed through 2020, so the Phillies would have him for at least two full seasons. They would almost assuredly try to extend that deal by at least a couple of years at some point. The San Diego Padres reportedly made a formal request to speak with Realmuto’s agent Jeff Berry regarding an extension prior to their own trade talks, a request that was denied by Miami. Any such talks would happen after the catcher is in a Phillies uniform.

A deal for Realmuto would likely not be the last move by the Phillies, who are still front-runners for the services of free agent superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. A Realmuto trade might actually be a signal that the club truly believes that they are going to land one of the young free agent studs and will be going all-in to contend right away in the coming season.
If that is indeed the plan and the Phillies feel sure that they will acquire one of the big fishes, then adding this particular Fish star makes sense. Sanchez is indeed an elite prospect, but the Phillies would be getting the top catcher in all of baseball in the prime of his career.
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly one of the other major players in a Realmuto deal with Miami. Assuming Frisaro is correct in his timing on such a deal, you can expect something will come together quickly. And with the Phillies scheduled to officially open their own spring training camp next week, we should be getting a lot of big, important news very soon.

Victor Victor Mesa, baseball’s top international free agent, signs with Miami Marlins

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Jeter announces signing of top Cuban prospect Mesa (his immediate right in pic)

The Philadelphia Phillies finished in third place in the National League East Division standings this past season, and actually led the division for more than a month.

The Miami Marlins finished in last place in the same division this past season. It marked a fourth finish in the division basement for the Fish over the last eight years.
In the  26-year history of their franchise the Marlins have just four finishes as high as second place. They have never finished a season in first place.
For much of the summer the Phillies appeared to be an organization on the rise. Improving young players winning improbably under inspiring leadership from a rookie manager.
During July and early August, it looked as if the Phillies and the similarly young and exciting Atlanta Braves were headed for a final week showdown for the division crown. The two rivals were scheduled to face one another in seven of the season’s final 10 games.
Many felt that the Washington Nationals had blown their best chances in recent years and were fading. The New York Mets were typically dysfunctional. And the Marlins were, well, the Marlins.
In other words, not only did it look as if the Phillies major competition in 2018 was going to come from Atlanta, but it also appeared that could be the case for years to come.
We all now know that the Phillies collapsed, and looked anything but a team on the rise over the final seven weeks. The club finished with a losing record for the sixth straight season. The Braves ran away with the division title, finishing 10 games ahead of them.
The Nationals slipped past the Phillies to finish in second place. The Mets finished strong, an 18-10 mark in September pulling them within three games of the Phillies by the end.
The Marlins, well, finished up like the Marlins. They won three games in a row just once after the mid-July MLB All-Star Game break.
As I pointed out in a recent article here at Phillies Nation, the Phillies are going to need to spend big and on just the right players in free agency in order to catch up to the Braves and Nationals.
You can also make an extremely compelling argument that the Mets are in at least as good, if not better, shape than the Phillies over the next few seasons.
And now comes the news today that the Miami Marlins ownership has decided that they are not just going to sit around and remain the divisional doormat over the next decade. Derek Jeter and the others in their ownership group opened up their wallets today.
With the Marlins announcement of the signing of the top international prospect in baseball, Victor Victor Mesa, the Miami ownership group is signaling that they too want to push back towards contention.
Mesa is a 22-year-old outfielder from Cuba who is very nearly ready for Major League Baseball. The MLB scouting report on him reads as follows:

“…an outstanding defender with a strong arm. He’s also a plus runner and scouts like his upside and pedigree. There’s the belief that Mesa would be selected in the first round if he was eligible for the Draft, and he’s the type of hitter who could be placed at the top of the order.”

In making the signing announcement earlier today, Jeter spoke to the media and spoke of the Marlins goals. He was quoted as follows by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

“We want Miami to be the destination for top international talent. We understand the diversity here in Miami. We’re embracing that diversity.”

In addition to Victor Victor, the Marlins also announced the signing of his brother, Victor Mesa Jr. The younger brother is a switch-hitting 17-year-old outfielder who starred with Cuba’s 18-under national team. He will be more of a project than the older brother, who could push his way up to Miami as soon as next season.

The Miami community has a strong Latino presence, especially Cuban, and you can expect that adding players of that ethnic and cultural background will continue to be a priority as the team builds and continues moving forward.
The message? There is another team in the division that is not going to be sitting on its hands. All today’s signing does is highlight with extreme emphasis the warning that I wrote about in that earlier piece. Phillies ownership and management needs to spend on true impact player star power if they want to keep up.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Marlins send another shot across the Phillies bow

Just One Sure-Fire First Ballot Hall of Famer Each of Next Three Years

There is a great deal of discussion taking place right now in regards to voting on Baseball Hall of Fame ballots.
A number of truly worthy candidates are on this year’s ballot, players who should absolutely find themselves enshrined one day. 
These include the greatest player who I ever saw in person, Barry Bonds. He still may fall just short this year as voters continue to evaluate his PED usage.
There would appear to be four men at the current time who stand a reasonable chance of gaining enshrinement in the summer of 2017.
When results of the BBWAA voting are released in three weeks we could very well find as many as four players elected. 
Jeff BagwellTim RainesTrevor Hoffman, and Ivan Rodriguez each could gain that measure of baseball immortality.
Of those players, only Rodriguez is a first ballot nominee, and the result for ‘Pudge’ is likely to be a close one.

Bagwell is in his 7th season on the ballot. Voters have struggled with his possible PED involvement. 
Raines is in his 10th and final year on the regular ballot. Some struggle with his use of cocaine during the 1980’s. 
Hoffman is in this 2nd year on the ballot. A number of voters still struggle with the importance of the closer position.
Of the players who will enter the voting process for the first time between 2018-2020, only one player each year would appear to be a no doubt, first ballot Hall of Famer.
Let’s examine each ballot for the first time nominees, and make that obvious call to the Hall.

J.P. Crawford Interview

The Philadelphia Phillies top prospect based on the evaluations of every reputable baseball source, shortstop J.P. Crawford (the ‘J.P.’ stands for John Paul) represents the organization’s lead piece in their planned “next generation”, the centerpiece of their rebuilding plans.
Crawford is currently injured, having suffered an oblique strain, basically a ribcage injury, as minor league camp was first opening back at the end of March.
When Crawford returns, anticipated around early-mid May, he is expected to be assigned to begin his 2015 season with the Phillies High-A affiliates, the Clearwater Threshers.
Should Crawford progress as anticipated this season, he is very likely to see Reading, where it would not be surprising to see him spend the majority of his summer. That would make watching him this year very accessible to Phillies fans.
Crawford turned 20 years old back in January. He was the club’s 1st round choice as the 16th overall selection in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of Lakewood High School in California.
After signing, he split that first 2013 summer between the Phillies rookie level team in the Gulf Coast League, and the Low-A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. 
Starting the 2014 season back in Lakewood, Crawford would split last summer between there and Clearwater with the High-A Threshers.
Thus far in his brief professional career, Crawford has a .292/.384/.404 slash line across 766 plate appearances, with 12 homers and 38 steals. 
Defensively, he has committed 38 errors in 780 chances, all at shortstop.
While the 20-year old is resting and getting set to begin his season, I was able to catch up with him for a quick interview. He proved to be very accessible and personable. 
Here is my exclusive Q&A with the Phillies shortstop of the future:

“My dad and Carl said to have fun in doing it. To remember that it’s still a game.” ~ Crawford

“Rollins and Jeter were my favorites to watch. Being African-American and playing shortstop, I wanted to be just like them.” ~ Crawford

MV: You’re still very young, who introduced you to the game as a kid?
JPC: My older sister. I’d go out to her practices when I was young. Then when I was old enough, I started to play.
MV: Can you talk about your experiences with the Urban Youth Academy and the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) programs?
JPC: Good memories going to the RBI World Series, and winning that in Miami, and getting the MVP at Marlins Park. They helped me a lot with my game, and can’t thank them enough. Gave me special opportunities.
MV: In that youth experience, any specific people who helped develop your game?
JPC: Lisa Beato. She was the best coach growing up, and she taught me how to compete, and how to win.
MV: Your dad, Larry Crawford, played in the CFL (Canadian Football League), and cousin Carl Crawford is in MLB. Did you receive any advice from them in transitioning to pro sports?
JPC: My dad and Carl said to have fun in doing it. To remember that it’s still a game.
MV: Any favorite or admired players growing up, or today?
JPC: Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter were my favorites to watch. Being African-American and playing shortstop, I wanted to be just like them.
MV: Your offensive game – hitting, power, steals – how do you see yourself? Do you feel that you can become a 20-20 or more type of player at the MLB level?
JPC: I’ve been working on getting stronger. So I think there’s a good possibility that a 20-20 can happen.
MV: How are you healing up? Do they give you a timetable, any game plan on a return yet?
JPC: The healing process is going great, getting better and better every day. I don’t know when I’ll be ready, but I’m going to come back stronger than before.
MV: Good luck on everything, and thanks for taking the time. Ever want to share anything or get anything out to the Phils fans, you can always come this way.

Byrd Remains Phils Elder Statesman

Numerous rumors surround the Phillies oldest player
At various times in recent weeks, trade rumors involving the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and other teams have swirled, but for now, Marlon Byrd remains the Philadelphia Phillies elder statesman on a roster still full of them.
Even with the trade of Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers (still not finalized as of this morning, by the way) the Phils remain one of only two N.L. East teams with any players born in the 1970’s, and they have 5 of them.
The Mets have two such players,
  Bartolo Colon and recent free agent signee Michael Cuddyer. The Nationals, Braves, and Marlins have no players born in the 70’s.
Among the most likely National League contenders, the number of players born in the 70’s comes out in single-digits. John Lackey and Randy Choate with the Cardinals and A.J. Burnett with the Pirates are in the Central. 
Out in the West, adding JRoll would give the Dodgers 3 such players along with Juan Uribe and Joel Peralta. The defending champion Giants have 4 such players: Tim Hudson, Marco Scutaro, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt.
As you can see, the vast majority of those aging players on the other N.L. rosters are pitchers. The Phillies quintet is made up of starting pitcher Cliff Lee (36) and 4 everyday position players: 2B Chase Utley (36), 1B Ryan Howard (35), C Carlos Ruiz (36), and Byrd (37).
In what truly is a new era in Major League Baseball, with drug testing limiting players to a more normal pace in the aging process, it has become more and more of a young man’s game. The Phillies are trying to get younger, but they still have much work to do.
The three oldest players in MLB in the 2015 season are expected to be free agent 1B/DH Jason Giambi who turns 45 in January, Mets pitcher Colon who turns 42 in May,  and free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki who turned 41 in October.
Three members of the over-40 club in the 2014 season have either retired or are expected to retire: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins, and Angels outfielder Raul Ibanez.
The oldest living former Major Leaguer, baseball’s current all-time elder statesman, is ex-Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Mike Sandlock, who turned 99 years old back in mid-October.