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Offseason Lowdown

Lowdown: Keeping it Realmuto

by David Shovein
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Keeping it Realmuto

Craig Mish of Sirius XM reported Sunday that the Astros have engaged in trade discussions with the Marlins for catcher J.T. Realmuto.


You’d think that the Astros would be set behind the dish with the hard-hitting tandem of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis, but Realmuto is one of the best all-around catchers in the game and would still be an upgrade. McCann is only under contract through 2018 (with a team option for 2019), while Gattis is set to hit free agency following the 2018 campaign.

Realmuto, 26, is one of the top catchers in the league from both an offensive and defensive perspective. He's coming off of a terrific 2017 campaign where he slashed .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI and eight stolen bases. He is currently the fifth catcher off the board in NFBC drafts and would see his draft stock rise substantially with a move away from Miami and into a better lineup and more favorable hitting environment.

Mish notes that the Marlins’ ask in return is stud outfield prospect Kyle Tucker, which would certainly be a worthwhile get for Realmuto and would help to combat the Marlins’ lack of depth in the outfield. Tucker, 21, was the fifth overall selection from the 2015 draft. He hit .274/.346/.528 with 25 homers, 90 homers and 21 stolen bases between High-A Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi in 2017.

The Marlins would seemingly like to deal away Realmuto before the start of the season, but they understand what a valuable commodity they have on their hands, and can afford to wait for the right deal. Realmuto is under team control through the 2020 season and will make just $2.9 million in 2018.

Going With Your Gut

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reported on Sunday that right-hander Zach Wheeler has been injecting a bone growth drug into his stomach on a daily basis for the past six months.

The drug, Forteo, helps to form new bone, increase bone mineral density, and increase bone strength. It's quite the commitment from Wheeler who is looking to improve his durability. He made just 17 starts in 2017 before suffering a stress reaction in his right arm after missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.

The 27-year-old hurler told reporters, “You do a shot in your stomach every day for six months. It’s not fun, but you got to do it. They give it to people with brittle bones, osteoporosis. My arm feels great. I’ve been on the mound six times now so if this helps me get to 30 starts, I’m all for it.”

He’s also on a mission to shed the injury-prone label that has been attached to his name in recent years. “I’m just kind of tired of getting labeled as unreliable, as ‘He’s always hurt.’ I missed two seasons but that was because of one injury. I can’t help that. I worked my butt off in rehab, was doing great and then this bone issue” Wheeler explained.

He has been going off of draft boards just after pick 400 in NFBC drafts this month, making him low-risk, high-upside investment. If he can stay on the mound and recapture his terrific form from 2014 where he posted a 3.54 ERA and 9.08 K/9 in 185 ⅓ innings.

Details on Darvish

More details began to trickle in on Sunday regarding the six-year, $126 million deal that Yu Darvish agreed to with the Cubs on Saturday.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Darvish has an opt-out clause in his contract for after the second season of the deal. This will give the right-hander an opportunity to test the free agent waters again after the 2019 season if he deems them to be more lucrative or doesn’t enjoy his stay with the Cubs.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports chimed in on Sunday as well, indicating that the no-trade clause that Darvish received is very similar to the one that Jason Heyward received from the Cubs. He has a full no-trade clause to start the deal, but that eventually changes to a list of 12 teams that he would have to approve a trade to.

Quick Hits: Lavelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Twins are still exploring possible trades with the Rays for ace right-hander Chris Archer… Joe Frisaro of MLB.com noted that the Marlins are looking to add an outfielder through free agency and mentioned Melky Cabrera, Jon Jay and Jose Bautista as potential options… According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the  Giants will be on hand for Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday in Seattle… Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports indicated that the Orioles have talked to the Astros about trading for Collin McHugh… Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the Orioles, Twins, Brewers, Cubs and Yankees have all inquired with the Rays about the availability of Jake Odorizzi… Cafardo also noted that the Diamondbacks were “very interested” in trading for Domingo Santana earlier this offseason… Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Yankees have monitored the market on Lance Lynn this winter… Brandon Drury has drawn “a fair bit” of trade interest this offseason according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic… Mike Foltynewicz lost his arbitration hearing against the Braves and will earn $2.2 million in 2018… Kendall Graveman lost his case against the A’s and will take home $2.36 million in 2018… Marlins team president of baseball operations David Hill confirmed Saturday that Brad Ziegler will head into spring training as the team’s closer.

David Shovein

Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.