Remember all those big trade rumors that involved the Mets and Yankees attached to the Marlins over 24 hours ago?!?!?!?!?! Well, it’s come and passed as quickly as all the heated discussion over a BLOCKBUSTER between the crosstown rivals involving Noah Syndergaard, Miguel Andujar, J.T. Realmuto and top prospects.
So much for Syndergaard landing in the Bronx with Realmuto and Andujar going to Queens. It would’ve been juicy like a good steak that’s medium rare with all the trimmings. It would be like going from Emily Ratajkowski to Heather Locklear. You get the picture.
Instead, baseball fans in this town are left with the fantasy over reality. Syndergaard a Yankee with the Bronx Bombers pursuing him aggressively would be intriguing because it involves a favorite Mets starter that hasn’t quite delivered on his lofty potential. He’s an ace in name only. If he can stay healthy in 2019 and pitch to expectations, then Syndergaard becomes Synder- God in Citi Field.
As for Andujar and Realmuto, their names remain mentioned at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, which has been more fold than royal flush. The chips remain hot as GM’s work the phones and speak to teams and free agents at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Sin City.
The Marlins know they must trade Realmuto. The much coveted NL All-Star catcher who has so much value due to his defense behind the plate. Plus his bat is good for a batting average around .300 with double digits in home runs and between 70 to 80 runs batted in.
There aren’t many more complete backstops in the game. So, I understand why there are so many suitors. Derek Jeter drives a hard bargain. He was a lot of positive things as a Yankee in the Big Apple. But that was as a heady future Hall of Famer on the field. As a owner, Number 2 is ruthless. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Even if that means ruffling a few feathers with the potential threat of dealing Realmuto to a Mets rival inside the NL East, that’s who Jeter is now.
Call it heartless, but he won’t be doing anyone any favors after not getting enough in return for the All-Star outfield that now features two MVPs with Christian Yelich taking home the award in the NL by carrying the Brewers to the Central Division title and beyond. Giancarlo Stanton will enter Year Two with the Yankees knowing there will be more pressure from the fans following a disappointing October. It happens. See Rodriguez, Alex.
Marcell Ozuna was a little underwhelming in his first year with the Cardinals. Now, he’ll get help in the middle of the order with former Diamondback first base slugger Paul Goldschmidt joining St. Louis due to Arizona’s sell off. They also lost Patrick Corbin to the Nationals for a hefty price of $140 million over six years. They beat out Brian Cashman and the Phillies, who rolled the dice on Andrew McCutchen for three years and $50 million. Why? I would’ve gone only two on him. He’s on the other side of 30 and won’t get better.
So, is that the big move that MLB Network insiders Jon Heyman, Mark De Rosa, Ken Rosenthal and eternal kill joy Joel Sherman had on their phantom deck of cards? To say it’s been more like a bad day of craps than hitting it big at the slots would be putting it mildly.
Where will big fi$h Bryce Harper and Manny Machado land? It’s doubtful we’ll know until mid to late January. Both want to get paid. Plus Scott Boras is involved with Harper. They’re dreaming of the sucker who’ll give the former NL MVP $40 million per over 10 years. I say sucker because those type of long-term investments usually don’t end well. Especially for that length. Only Mike Trout is worth it with maybe Mookie Betts right behind. Max Scherzer is a rarity. Think Albert Pujols and newest Met Robinson Cano.
Harper is a enormous talent who can potentially hit 45-50 homers in the right situation. It’s amazing to think he’s only topped 40 once, doing so in his MVP year back in 2015 at age 22. He’s driven in 100 once and gone over .300 twice in his career. The soon to be former National will break the bank. Whether it’s in Philly, Los Angeles with the Dodgers or even a surprise franchise like the White Sox unless Cashman’s denial of interest was a smokescreen, there’ll be a lot more scrutiny at his next stop.
He is still only 26. There should be quite a few peak seasons ahead for the big lefty bat with the gigantic Vegas ego and personality to match. In some aspects, he reminds me of a former Yankee who played right field when I was too young to realize that the Bronx was Burning. Yes. I went there. But Reggie Jackson had a lot more credentials before he arrived in New York and stirred the drink to become Mr. October. He was big time for the Athletics dynasty in the early 1970’s.
George Steinbrenner admitted his biggest mistake was letting Reggie leave around the time Dave Winfield arrived following the crushing World Series loss to the Dodgers in ’81. Speaking of The Boss, it’s ashame he’ll never make Cooperstown while a biased Veteran’s Committee elects Harold Baines. A good professional hitter that never reached 30 home runs or won a batting crown. He didn’t even get 3,000 hits like Craig Biggio, who could play five different positions as a jack of all trades.
Nothing against Baines or the more deserving Lee (Arthur) Smith. But if they’re gonna put good players in over very good to great ones who dominated for a period like Don Mattingly, then it’s time to put the Hitman in along with Keith Hernandez and the disrespected Albert (Joey) Belle.
As for the big meet up in Vegas, it’s been more glow than show. Unless a big name signs or a Corey Kluber gets moved, then it is a big letdown.
Look. This isn’t the old days where the Yankees and Mets gambled on Danny Tartabull and Bobby Bonilla. I’ll never forget it because of that ultracool cover on Sportscard Trader when I was getting into collecting baseball cards as a teenager. Only back then, $25 million over five years was a lot.
Neither player ever lived up to the hype. Bobby Bo showed ’em da Bronx at Shea while Tartabull was dealt for Ruben Sierra around the time the Yankees were becoming good. Only Bonilla still collects deferred payments of $1.19 million until July 1, 2035. Yikes.
That was back in 1992. Not even three full decades later, it’s insanity. That’s the cost of doing business these days in sports. There will always be someone that overpays. Will it be worth it in the end? Whether it’s Corbin, Craig Kimbrel, Harper or Machado, it’s up to them to earn the 💰.