A blockbuster Mets-Yankees-Marlins deal?
LAS VEGAS — Don’t mistake the Mets’ lack of concrete news — transactional action — on day one of the winter meetings Monday for a lack of productivity.
Give general manager Brodie Van Wagenen credit for at least this much: He is not afraid to get creative.
The Mets and Yankees have discussed a three-way trade involving the Marlins that would send Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto to Queens and Mets righthander Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx, sources confirmed late Monday night. No deal was close and those talks didn’t appear serious, particularly considering the lack of other known details.
In any trade with that general structure, the Marlins would need their high price — at least one controllable major-leaguer plus prospects — for Realmuto met. And if the Mets gave up three years of team control of Syndergaard for two years of Realmuto, they, too, would need to receive other pieces back.
And that’s not to mention the lack of recent trading history between the Mets and Yankees, plus the Mets’ hesitation in sending a high-ceiling arm in Syndergaard, who hasn’t yet fulfilled his potential, to their crosstown rival.
Separately, a source said the Mets and Yankees remain interested in acquiring Realmuto, a popular trade target before and during the winter meetings this week at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
It all ties into Van Wagenen’s public bottom line when discussing Mets goings-on earlier Monday: “We’re not going to create a hole by filling another.”
The Mets, as much as they could use Realmuto behind the plate, suddenly would need another high-end starter if Syndergaard went elsewhere. Same goes for shortstop if the Mets part with Amed Rosario, or corner outfield if Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo is involved.
Van Wagenen thinks Realmuto negotiations will heat up this week. “If the Marlins find the right package of players they’re looking for,” he said. “It’s hard for me to assess what their asking price will ultimately be.”
One source with direct knowledge of the talks said Miami’s asking price has not changed.
In the meantime, the Mets are pursuing other catching solutions via multiple means. “We’re looking at the catching market primarily via trade and then some on the free-agency side,” Van Wagenen said. “We’ve had discussions not only with agents but also with players, and we’ll continue to try to do that.”
Van Wagenen said that goes for all of the Mets’ areas of need, including bullpen and outfield.
Among other possible trade targets: former Yankees catchers Russell Martin (Blue Jays) and Francisco Cervelli (Pirates).
It’s worth noting that free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos is at the winter meetings and free-agent reliever David Robertson — who would prefer to play for a team in the Northeast — is representing himself in contract talks.
“We’re less than 24 hours since we’ve arrived here,” Van Wagenen said. “We’ve had a number of conversations and meetings already since we’ve been here. We’re going to keep the gas pedal down and hope that we accomplish our goals. Whether that’s today, tomorrow or a month from now, we’re not going to stop until we feel like we’ve accomplished what we wanted to.”
Realmuto is handling all this fine, according to Marlins manager Don Mattingly. He has been the subject of trade speculation for a year, including throughout the 2018 season.
“J.T.’s a tough kid. He’s a big-time leader. It’s why we love him. It’s why a lot of teams love him,” Mattingly said. “He’s probably more like [Derek Jeter] than anybody I’ve seen, because he’s quiet and he goes about his business. He keeps doing his job. Nothing seems to bother him with what’s going on. He’s not really worried about what anybody’s saying; he’s not worrying about the situation.”
Notes & quotes: Van Wagenen talked up shortstop Andres Gimenez, 20, generally considered the Mets’ top prospect.“He’s a premium defender at shortstop, he’s a premium baserunner,” he said. “He can impact us at the major-league level in both of those areas right now.” . . . At his first winter meetings as a team executive, Van Wagenen said the best advice came from Omar Minaya, special assistant to the GM. “Omar told me to pace myself, but I didn’t listen to him,” he said. “I don’t sleep very much and I probably talk to too many people too often, but I think that’s part of my personality.” . . . Former Mets exec J.P. Ricciardi is at the meetings with the Giants, who hired him as senior adviser to the president of baseball operations.
With David Lennon