LA Angels News

Could/Should the LA Angels Have Traded for J.T Realmuto?

By Vincent Page
MIAMI, FL - MAY 26: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins rounds the bases after a solo home run in the first inning during a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Marlins Park on May 26, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 26: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins rounds the bases after a solo home run in the first inning during a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Marlins Park on May 26, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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While there were some rumors of the LA Angels possibly being in the JT Realmuto sweepstakes, nothing solid ever came from reports.

However, after seeing the package Miami received for their All Star catcher, could the LA Angels have landed him? Should they have? The Philadelphia Phillies eventually landed Realmuto for top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, along with catcher Jorge Alfaro, left-handed pitcher Will Stewart, and international bonus money.

Orange Country Register’s Jeff Fletcher, after seeing the package the Marlins got in return, cast some light on what it might have taken for the Halos to trade for the league’s best catcher.

As Fletcher points out, it would have been a steep price for the Angels to pay. Jo Adell is the organization’s top prospect, and it isn’t particularly close. Adell ranks as the #2 prospect in baseball (per Baseball Prospectus) while the Halos’ next best prospect is Griffin Canning, ranked #56. Jaime Barria, the second part of the package Fletcher mentioned, had a dominant rookie season with the Angels in 2018 and figures to be apart of their rotation as a cost-controller arm for a long time.

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The biggest fear of this deal would be if Mike Trout leaves in free agency in 2020. Adell is either going to become Trout’s running mate should he resign, or he’ll have the burden of being Trout’s heir to the throne of the Angels’ outfield. If they trade Adell for Realmuto, they are left without a prospect capable of being an All Star center fielder.

However, the counterargument to that would be that Realmuto helps the Angels’ contend now, which theoretically would help the team’s case in retaining Trout. Realmuto would be a free agent following the 2020 season, the same time as Trout (barring an extension). That makes trading so much capital for Realmuto a risk, as he could leave two seasons from now if the Angels aren’t competitive…and Trout could be right behind him.

The Angels’ chances of making this deal were also tough due to their variety of prospects. They have a plethora of outfielders in their system (though none nearly as talented as Adell). The reports were that the Marlins were looking for a pitcher, outfielder, and catcher in the deal. While the Angels could cover the first two parts of that, they do not currently have a catcher ranked in their Top 30 rankings. Both Taylor Ward and Matt Thaiss were drafted as catchers in the first round, but now play third base and first base, respectively.

Despite the lack of a top catching prospect, the Angels surely could have gotten over the hump and made a deal for Realmuto. However, Billy Eppler has stated throughout the offseason that he wants to continue improving the farm system, while also keeping the current top group together.

Next. Should the Halos Have Gone Star Chasing in Free Agency?

The Angels signed Jonathan Lucroy for 2019, and while that is not as flashy as trading for Realmuto would have been, it is still a valuable deal for the Angels. With this, and the price they would have had to pay for J.T, the Angels were more than likely not trading for the best catcher in baseball…how weird does that sound?

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