The talk of a potential trade for Miami Marlins’ catcher J.T. Realmuto was met with “We have Matt Wieters“ and “He’s a candidate for a bounce-back season“ talk, to paraphrase the official comments from the Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo this winter, and pitchers like throwing to him, plus, Wieters, 31, is owed $10.5M this season, after he exercised a player option included in the 1-year/$10.5M deal he signed with the Nats in late February of 2017, so the idea of the Nationals acquiring another everyday catcher, even an affordable one ($2.9M in 2018 for a 3.5-3.6 fWAR catcher in the last two seasons), with years of team control left, like Realmuto, didn’t really make sense without a corresponding move.
Then MLB.com’s Jane Lee wrote on Twitter this afternoon that the Oakland A’s, “have been in talks about either trading for Matt Wieters or signing Jonathan Lucroy. Sources indicate they will get one of them.” Would the Nationals either stick with one or sign the other?
To clarify, A’s have been in talks about either trading for Matt Wieters or signing Jonathan Lucroy. Sources indicate they will get one of them.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 9, 2018
Would they stick with Wieters, or trade the veteran backstop to make room for a new No. 1 catcher in D.C. if they either signed one (Lucroy), or acquired one (Realmuto)?
Would they sign Lucroy (who was tied to the Nationals in recent rumors) and trade Wieters to Oakland?
Would... neither of those things happen? That appears to be the case, because 20 minutes after that first report, Lee had another Tweet:
A’s have a one-year deal for Lucroy, source says.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 9, 2018
That deal (Lucroy’s with the A’s) has since been confirmed by multiple reporters.
So is that it? Are the Nationals sticking with Wieters now? That was an exciting 20 minutes of speculating on a rumor though, wasn’t it?
Is that it? Is it all over now... or?
Will the long-rumored interest in Realmuto finally result in an intra-divisional deal between NL East rivals? Will Washington or Miami crack?
The last word on the talks between the Nationals and Marlins on Realmuto, as Heyman reported last week, was that the Nats refused to include either Victor Robles or Juan Soto, their top outfield, and overall, prospects, and the Fish, “... wanted significant other players paired with,” the ones the Nats were willing to include in a potential package, like their 2016 first-round pick, Carter Kieboom, or 26-year-old outfielder, Michael A. Taylor.
FWIW: Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked earlier this winter if he would consider including Taylor in a trade this offseason, selling high, hypothetically, if another team asked.
Of course, he didn’t really answer. What did you expect?
“He’s a really good, dynamic, impactful player that we have under control for a long time and that’s priced very nicely for us,“ Rizzo said. “He’s another guy that we drafted and developed. We drafted [him] as a shortstop, developed him as an outfielder, he’s come a long way for us and I think he’s just scratching the surface.”
But it would open a spot on the Opening Day roster for Robles... who is going to play every day somewhere come Opening Day according to both Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez. But, of course, trading Taylor would deplete some outfield depth in the organization, which right now is a strength... But don’t you deal from those (strengths, that is)? [-ed. note- ”Okay. Enough with the questions already.”]