MLB rumors: Giants checked in on J.T. Realmuto trade with Marlins


MLB rumors: Giants checked in on J.T. Realmuto trade with Marlins

J.T. Realmuto is one of the most rapidly growing stars in Major League Baseball. He's also currently on the Miami Marlins, meaning he could be in a different uniform at any time now. 

In one of the more surprising Giants rumors this offseason, Fancred's Jon Heyman reported Thursday that the team has their eyes on the All-Star catcher. 

Trading for Realmuto right now makes more sense for the Giants than you might think, and it would cause quite the domino effect on the organization. It starts with Buster Posey, but goes much deeper. 

Realmuto is coming off his first All-Star campaign where he hit .277 with 21 home runs and an .825 OPS over 125 games played. The past two seasons, the 27-year-old has hit .278 while averaging 19 home runs and a 4.0 bWAR. He also plays the same position as Buster Posey.

There's no denying Posey wasn't the same in 2018 at the plate due to a hip injury that can come from his nine years behind the plate in the big leagues. His injury robbed him of any power where he only hit five home runs with a career-low .382 slugging percentage in 105 games. The good news is, he appears to be ready for spring training and is walking normally two and a half months after hip surgery.

For years, fans have been pushing for Posey to move to first base, and while having him in the squat certainly brings the team more value as he's still an elit catcher, it may be finally time for change. 

Posey turns 32 years old at the end of March to start the 2019 season, while Realmuto turns 28 nine days before him, and the current Marlin has way less miles on his legs as a four-year catcher in the majors. While the sample is obviously much smaller, the numbers show Posey is a better hitter when at first base. 

For his career, Posey is a .334 hitter at first base with a .520 slugging percentage compared to a .300 hitter with a .456 slugging percentage as a catcher. Mind you, he has played 661 more games behind the dish than at the bag. 

To move Posey to first base, the team would have to explore trade options for Brandon Belt, who can pick 10 teams annually to put on a no-trade list. No matter where you sit on the Belt Wars, a Gold Glove caliber first baseman who is a great hitter when healthy would certainly have plenty of suitors on the trade market. 

The final piece to this puzzle is the Giants' top prospect, catcher Joey Bart. If he wouldn't have to be a part of the deal, trading for Realmuto would actually be perfect for the team's No. 2 overall pick from the 2018 MLB Drft. 

Bart impressed with his raw power and strong arm for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in his minor league debut where he hit 13 home runs in 45 games. While people want Bart in San Francisco tomorrow, the trade would allow him to develop more and ease the pressure of a top pick. 

Realmuto is under team control through the 2020 season, making him a free agent in 2021. Here comes Bart. A trade with the Marlins would essentially bring the Giants an All-Star, extend Posey's career, and fit with the timeline of their top prospect who will be on a cheap contract right when their departing catcher hits the market.

Baseball Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds falls short in eighth straight year

Baseball Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds falls short in eighth straight year

The wait continues for Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader. 

Barry Bonds again fell well short of the needed vote total to make it to the Hall of Fame, finishing with 60.7 percent of the vote in his eighth year on the ballot. Bonds needs to get to 75 percent to make it to Cooperstown and now has just two more years to get there. 

Bonds saw a very slight uptick from 2019, when he received 59.1 percent of the vote. Since crossing over the halfway mark in 2017, he has gotten 53.8 percent, 56.4, 59.1 and now 60.7, but there is still a long way to go and not a whole lot of momentum at the moment. Bonds continues to see more support from younger voters and those who are willing to make their selections public -- he was at 71.2 percent on the 211 ballots that were released before Tuesday's announcement -- but he annually sees a big drop when the private ballots are added in. 

Bonds is MLB's all-time leader in homers and walks and was a seven-time National League MVP, but he continues to pay for his connection to performance-enhancing drugs. Roger Clemens, who has a remarkably similar case, received 61 percent of the vote this year. 

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The class will be a small one, with just Derek Jeter and Larry Walker making it. Jeter was listed on 396 of 397 ballots, coming one vote shy of joining former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Famers. Walker made it in his final year on the ballot, clearing the threshold by just six votes. 

Two of Bonds' teammates received enough support that they will stay on the ballot. Longtime big league shortstop Omar Vizquel finished at 52.6 percent and former Giants MVP Jeff Kent at 27.5. Former A's Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez were among those who did not receive the five percent needed to stay on the ballot another year. 

Giants claim starting pitcher Luis Madero from Angels, DFA Jake Jewell

Giants claim starting pitcher Luis Madero from Angels, DFA Jake Jewell

For the second week in a row, the Giants claimed a right-hander from the Los Angeles Angels and made room on the roster by releasing another former Angel. 

This time, it was 22-year-old Luis Madero joining the organization on a waiver claim, with fellow right-hander Jake Jewell getting designated for assignment. Jewell had been claimed last Monday and the Giants cleared a spot that day by designating Zack Cozart. 

Madero, who made it to Double-A last season, seems to bring a bit more upside to an organization looking to hit on underrated prospects. He was ranked 11th in the Angels' system at the time of the waiver claim, according to MLB Pipeline. Madero had been DFA'd last week.

Madero was originally signed out of Venezuela by the Diamondbacks and has spent the last two seasons in A-ball and Double-A with the Angels. He made 24 appearances last season -- 22 of which were starts -- and posted a 5.03 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. 

[RELATED: Bonds falls short of Baseball Hall of Fame for eighth time]

According to MLB Pipeline, Madero has a low 90s sinker and a good slider. That could be a solid combination out of the bullpen, although the Giants also are working to stockpile starting pitching depth. They figure to have a pretty good handle of what Madero is capable of, as new pitching coach Andrew Bailey came to the Giants after two years on staff with the Angels.