Winter Meetings 2018: Rumors and Speculation

MikeM

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Speaking of AGon earlier, he does serve as pretty good current reminder of what a 7 year contract on a 30yo arguably *should* end looking like on an elite hitter who doesn't end up having a HoF career.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Speaking of AGon earlier, he does serve as pretty good current reminder of what a 7 year contract on a 30yo arguably *should* end looking like on an elite hitter who doesn't end up having a HoF career.
I'm guessing when he was traded for, everyone thought AGonz was on a HOF trajectory. No one thinks that of VMart or Hosmer.

edit: JD Mart, even.
 

pdub

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Justin Upton just got 5/$106M from the Angels. Upton is 4 days younger than Martinez. Martinez has a little more power than Upton, but otherwise Upton is a better player. That salary level is where Martinez should end up.
I get where you're coming from, but I'm not sure Upton is an otherwise better player as you say. Martinez has him beat in average oWAR the last 5 years (3.52 > 2.74), and is a better on-base guy, even if slightly.

As for defense? This is where Upton should get the edge, but he was apparently -16 runs below average last year in the field. If Upton rebounds with the glove and maintains his bat, I think you're absolutely correct. Until then, I do not think its a slam dunk.

But still, you're correct in the value assessment regardless. If Upton got $105M and JDM gets, say, $180M, there is no way he's worth $75M more than Upton.
 

billy ashley

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As an aside, Justin Upton may be the most disappointing player to ever amass 30 WAR before the age of 30, ever (maybe Jason Heyward, who is bizzaro Upton). We forget how hard it is to be exceptional for a long time in baseball. Even elite talents falter and struggle to adjust as they age (though of course Upton has reinvented himself, last year).

I'm all in on JD Martinez, but man, it's hard to be great for a long time.
 

sean1562

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Rafael Devers? I just dont think the next two years of JD Martinez will make this club a WS favorite, especially if Devers and Benintendi don't become stars. If they both have breakout seasons, try to sign Harper for LF, trade JBJ, and move forward with a core of Devers, Benintendi, and Harper.

I can't imagine what Boras is going to ask for a 27 year old Xander, if he wants 7/220 for a 30 year old JD Martinez. I think we should start thinking about Devers and Benintendi as the core and future of the team, with Betts a hopeful extension candidate. See how Benintendi and Devers do this year, and if they have seasons even resembling breakout seasons, lock them up for a few of their FA years. Better long term strategy than dropping 30 mil a year on JD Martinez
 

NDame616

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I really hope the front office isn't looking to make that one move to make us "world series favorites", whatever that means.

(and BTW no one on the market would make us "World Series favorites". I'm not even sure trading JBJ for Trout would do that)
 

sean1562

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I really hope the front office isn't looking to make that one move to make us "world series favorites", whatever that means.

(and BTW no one on the market would make us "World Series favorites". I'm not even sure trading JBJ for Trout would do that)
Yes, I agree, that is why going out and spending absurd amounts on any of these FAs is a waste of time. If some of our young players don't develop into stars, I don't see us competing with the better teams in the league anyway. I would rather they take a chance at some megastars, and give some of their younger players those early deals with guaranteed money before they actually become obvious candidates for huge FA megadeals. Giving Devers and Benintendi some financial security by locking up some of their FA years now or after next off-season is a better "7 year risk" than giving JD Martinez or Eric Hosmer huge deals. I don't think the David Price deal was necessarily terrible, it just turned south when he got hurt. But a player like David Price is in a different category than players like JD and Hosmer.

This team could hit a rough patch in a few years, yes, but if we could get both of those guys locked up through like 2025/2026, that transition could be a lot less painful.
 

Rough Carrigan

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Rafael Devers? I just dont think the next two years of JD Martinez will make this club a WS favorite, especially if Devers and Benintendi don't become stars. If they both have breakout seasons, try to sign Harper for LF, trade JBJ, and move forward with a core of Devers, Benintendi, and Harper.

I can't imagine what Boras is going to ask for a 27 year old Xander, if he wants 7/220 for a 30 year old JD Martinez. I think we should start thinking about Devers and Benintendi as the core and future of the team, with Betts a hopeful extension candidate. See how Benintendi and Devers do this year, and if they have seasons even resembling breakout seasons, lock them up for a few of their FA years. Better long term strategy than dropping 30 mil a year on JD Martinez
Xander is a crap fielding shortstop who absolutely sucks at making plays in the hole and isn't exceptional in any other respect such that the numbers consistently show him as -12 or so. At bat he's had OPS+ of 83, 107, 111 and 95 the last 4 years, good but not blowing anyone away and he periodically looks absolutely lost. Why would any team be anxious to give him a giant contract?
 

The Gray Eagle

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If not JDM, then where does the power come from? This team needs a power bat incredibly bad.
Steamer's projections for 2018:
Betts 27 HRs, .374 wOBA
Hanley: 26, .346 wOBA
Devers: 21, .343 wOBA
Bradley: 21, .334 wOBA
Benitendi: 20, .352 wOBA
X: 16, .341 wOBA

That core certainly wouldn't lead the league in homers, but they would have enough power to have a solid offense, especially considering that we will be adding a power hitter, even if it's not one of the big names.

Free agent Steamer projections:
JD Martinez:
37 HR, 277/349/544, 371 wOBA

Hosmer:
26 HR, 289/360/484, 358 wOBA

Morrison:
26 HR, 242/337/451, 336 wOBA

Duda:
22 HR, 244/344/487, 349 wOBA

Moreland:
23 HR, 245/318/447, 323 wOBA

Frazier:
27 HR, 234/322/445, 327 wOBA

Nunez:
13 HR, 288/326/441, 328 wOBA

The Red Sox aren't likely going to be able to bash their way to victory in 2018. They need to build a deep offense that has enough power to not be a troubling weakness, and try to win by combining a solid offense with strong pitching and defense.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Those numbers are all decent to good, but it still leaves the Sox as one of the only teams in the league who don't have a true power bat. A guy who is a lock for 30+ homers. There were 33 who hit 30 plus last year, and it would have been more if Harper, Sano and Bryant weren't hurt.

The Sox best HR guy was tied for 75th in MLB. They're the only East team who didn't have at least one guy hit 30+ and the only playoff team without one.
 

sean1562

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Xander is a crap fielding shortstop who absolutely sucks at making plays in the hole and isn't exceptional in any other respect such that the numbers consistently show him as -12 or so. At bat he's had OPS+ of 83, 107, 111 and 95 the last 4 years, good but not blowing anyone away and he periodically looks absolutely lost. Why would any team be anxious to give him a giant contract?
hosmer Is even more mediocre. Boras is still asking for the moon
 

Lowrielicious

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Theoretically they could rotate between LF/RF/DH. Not saying it will happen, but it is positionally possible.
Theoretically a lot of things are possible when you have a DH spot to play with. Even taking into account Judges low $$ that would be a lot to invest in a DH (1/3 of those combined salaries) and none of them are old or defensive liabilities. Machado makes so much more sense for the Yankees needs right now unless something drastic happens (long term injury or trade) before Harper hits the market.
 

E5 Yaz

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Theoretically a lot of things are possible when you have a DH spot to play with. Even taking into account Judges low $$ that would be a lot to invest in a DH (1/3 of those combined salaries) and none of them are old or defensive liabilities. Machado makes so much more sense for the Yankees needs right now unless something drastic happens (long term injury or trade) before Harper hits the market.
You've convinced yourself they aren't getting both?
 

Lowrielicious

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You've convinced yourself they aren't getting both?
$120 ish million a year for the next decade for 3 players is a hell of a risk. I can't see them doing it. I wouldn't like it at all, but for me there is enough risk there to offset the fear of seeing a Machado-Harper-Stanton-Judge monster lineup.
 

Hawk68

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Which position do you see him playing with Stanton and Judge in the corners?
In addition to the LF/RF/DH rotation, 1B has long been a position allowing corner outfielders to stay in the lineup. It is an easier problem to find them playing time than to afford $400M+ contracts - and the Post and Agent believe money will not be a problem.
 

charlieoscar

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There was a piece yesterday in CBSSports.com that talked about the share of baseball's money going to players has been dropping significantly in recent years, from 56% in 2002 to 38% in 2015:

"Prior to the 2015 season Nathaniel Grow of FanGraphs wrote a wonderful post detailing how the players are receiving an increasingly smaller piece of MLB's revenue pie. In 2002, the players received 56 percent of the league's revenues. In 2015, it was down to 38 percent. That combined with the offseason activity to date should worry the heck out of the union. Baseball is flush with cash, but teams around the league are scaling back on their spending and the players aren't getting their fair share, and the union deserves some of the blame for agreeing to the current luxury tax and international rules."

The full article is at https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/the-mlbpa-has-a-big-problem-to-address-as-dodgers-yankees-marlins-dump-salary/

I'd guess there are a few clubs who have some money to toss around.
 

Plympton91

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MLB Really rolled Tony Clark.

Harper can play some CF too.

I think they should sign Duda. The Citi Field and NL
east effect makes him an undervalued asset.
 

Sampo Gida

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$120 ish million a year for the next decade for 3 players is a hell of a risk. I can't see them doing it. I wouldn't like it at all, but for me there is enough risk there to offset the fear of seeing a Machado-Harper-Stanton-Judge monster lineup.
Thats will be about 15-20% of their revenue over the next decade for 3 stars, maybe less depending on revenue growth with BamTek throwing cash at owners. Heck Manny Ramirez salary alone was about 10% of Red Sox revenues in his early years
 

MuzzyField

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Thats will be about 15-20% of their revenue over the next decade for 3 stars, maybe less depending on revenue growth with BamTek throwing cash at owners. Heck Manny Ramirez salary alone was about 10% of Red Sox revenues in his early years
Isn’t most of the BAM revenue going to be Disney’s?
MLB does get to enjoy the $2.5-billion majority interest sale price from Disney in the short term.
 

Danny_Darwin

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A lot can happen between now and next offseason (obviously!), but after this weekend, there's a super-rich team under the luxury tax threshold with a corner outfield spot open and, as it happens, they're the defending NL champs. I have to assume they are the new favorites for Harper as of this moment.

That said, I do think the "lay low and save up for next offseason" strategy makes sense for the Red Sox. They could go after someone in the next tier down like Donaldson and still have some money leftover to rebuild their post-Kimbrel bullpen and/or their post-Porcello rotation. (EDIT: could have sworn he only had one year left...)
 
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Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Xander is a crap fielding shortstop who absolutely sucks at making plays in the hole and isn't exceptional in any other respect such that the numbers consistently show him as -12 or so.
He has never been quite as bad as -12 even by DRS, which hates his defense a good deal more than UZR. His numbers since 2014:

DRS: -9, -1, -10, -11
UZR: -2.7, 0.9, -2.8, -1.7

That's a pretty huge difference, so it matters quite a bit which one of them is closer to his true defensive talent level. And it also matters quite a bit whether his offensive prime is going to look like his 2016 or 2017. The 2016 offense + the UZR defense = a free agent who'll get a lot of money. The 2017 offense + the DRS defense = not so much.

He'll be one of the most interesting Sox players to watch next year.
 

Sampo Gida

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Isn’t most of the BAM revenue going to be Disney’s?
MLB does get to enjoy the $2.5-billion majority interest sale price from Disney in the short term.
My understanding is they bought a 33% stake and MLB still controls over 2 billion of its current value which is increasing, rapidly
 

Sampo Gida

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MLB Really rolled Tony Clark.

Harper can play some CF too.

I think they should sign Duda. The Citi Field and NL
east effect makes him an undervalued asset.
Its been over a decade of weakness since the MLBPA filed a grievance over collusion And settled in 2003 in the aftermath of the mammoth Manny,Arod and Jeter contracts in 2000-2001

Clark strikes me as a MLB lackey given his belief that MLB payroll/revenue share has remained constant at 48-52% during this time. LOL
 

jon abbey

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Is it impossible for players to strike mid-contract? It’s insane that this CBA still has four years left, Ohtani alone is owed nine figures.
 

Devizier

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Surprised that there has been almost no noise about Howie Kendrick. He's basically an older (and presumably cheaper) Nunez.
 

Humphrey

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How can anyone say that if they got Machado it's an improvement defensively over X? He's never really played the position, so we just take Cafardo's word for it he'd be good? Machado teamed with Devers could create a sieve on the left side..and then you have a second baseman and possibly a first baseman who are not that good either.
 

Yaz4Ever

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How can anyone say that if they got Machado it's an improvement defensively over X? He's never really played the position, so we just take Cafardo's word for it he'd be good? Machado teamed with Devers could create a sieve on the left side..and then you have a second baseman and possibly a first baseman who are not that good either.
But our outfielders have a ton of range
 

Puffy

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Surprised that there has been almost no noise about Howie Kendrick. He's basically an older (and presumably cheaper) Nunez.
Yeah - an interesting option. He's played a lot more OF lately, but he'd be a fine placeholder for Pedroia earlier in the season. He could transition into a role player later in the season. It's a pity he can't play SS, but then I don't think Nunez can really play anywhere all that well.
 

DanoooME

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How can anyone say that if they got Machado it's an improvement defensively over X? He's never really played the position, so we just take Cafardo's word for it he'd be good? Machado teamed with Devers could create a sieve on the left side..and then you have a second baseman and possibly a first baseman who are not that good either.
Really? He was a SS in the minor leagues and only moved to 3B in the majors because they wanted his bat in the lineup and that was the hole they had available. He also filled in for JJ Hardy in 2016 when he was hurt for an extended period. And his scouting reports in the minors had him as a really good defensive SS.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Yeah - an interesting option. He's played a lot more OF lately, but he'd be a fine placeholder for Pedroia earlier in the season. He could transition into a role player later in the season. It's a pity he can't play SS, but then I don't think Nunez can really play anywhere all that well.
Kendrick was actually a pretty terrible defensive 2B last time that was his primary job, FWIW--and that was in 2015. He might be OK for a 2-3 month stint, but we should keep our defensive expectations low. But I agree he'd make an intriguing option to fill in for Pedroia and then settle into a role as a bat-first corner OF/2B/1B supersub (he's even played some 3B). Having him on the roster would add some flexibility, especially if the Sox are contemplating signing one of the power-hitting LHH first basemen with a pronounced platoon split (like Duda or Adams).
 

chawson

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No thanks on Albers. Team doesn’t need any more RPs. Smith Thornburg you have to figure one of those two will compete with Kelly for 8th inning duty. The exception is Rosenthal. I’d like to see the Sox get creative and offer him a 2 year deal with an eye towards 2019.
Circling back to the bullpen discussion...

Assembling a "playoff bullpen" is vital, and it has been for a long time (remember the "secret sauce" discussions from mid last decade?).

The Red Sox do not have one. Take a look at the top 100 pitchers sorted by xwOBA in 2017 (per Statcast, min. 300 pitches). Relievers are volatile, but 21 of the top 100 pitchers have been available this offseason — including five of the top 10. Three others have been traded. Seven more are still out there.

This was edited to relievers for playoff teams and guys who were available this offseason (in bold). I left in a few starting pitchers as benchmarks.

1. Jansen .198
2. Neshek .216 (signed by PHI, 2/$16.3m)
3. Doolittle .217
4. Kimbrel .232
5. Miller .233
6. Osuna .233
7. Hunter .234 (signed by PHI, 2/$18m)
8. Minor .238 (signed by TEX, 3/$28m)
9. Morrow .240 (signed by CHC, 2/$21m)
10. Pagan .241 (traded to OAK)
11. Kahnle .241
12. Joe Smith .241 (signed by HOU, 2/$15)
13. Scherzer .242
14. Robertson .242
15. Harris .243
16. Green .244
17. Swarzak .245 (signed by NYM, 2/$14)
19. Albers .246 (signed by ?)
20. Giles .246
21. Madson .246
22. Chapman .247
25. Sale .248
26. Kluber .248
28. Glover .251
29. Rosenthal .253 (TJ surgery; FA – out for 2018)
31. Kershaw .253
32. Parker .254
37. Boxberger (traded to ARI)
39. Devenski .258
45. Betances .260
47. Shaw .260 (signed by COL, 3/$27m)
48. Cingrani .260
49. Petit .261 (traded to OAK)
51. Strop .262
52. Allen .262
53. Strasburg .264
54. Edwards, Jr. .264
55. Peacock .265
58. Severino .267
59. Kontos .269
61. Warren .270
62. Holland .270
65. Cishek .271 (signed by CHC, 2/$13m)
66. Duensing .272
71. David Hernandez .273
72. Hill .273
73. Soria .273
74. Richards .273
77. Nicasio .275 (signed by SEA, 2/$17m)
78. J. Wilson .275
79. Stewart .276
80. Rodney .276 (signed by MIN, 1/$4.5m)
81. M. Barnes .276
83. Watson .277
90. McGee .278 (signed by COL, 3/$27m)
100. Farquhar .282

We had decent results last year thanks to an incredible season by Kimbrel, but I wouldn’t say our bullpen is elite or equipped for the playoffs. You have to go pretty deep to find another Red Sox reliever after Kimbrel — Barnes at .281. (Austin Maddox didn’t qualify but had a .248 in 17.1 innings. Carson Smith a .281 in 6.2.) The Yankees have six bullpen guys on this list. The Cubs have five. Houston has five.

Relievers are volatile, but it's seeming like an opportunity to solidify our bullpen for when we need it most — the playoff window of the next two years — is passing us by.

Sox 2017 pen

117. Abad .287
151. Scott .295
173. Price .300
190. Workman .302
231. Kelly .309
237. Fister .310
x. Velazquez .316
x. Reed .316 (BOS only; .291 with NYM)
x. Hembree .320
x. Boyer .321
x. Johnson .365
x. Taylor .373
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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But you can’t know which of these will be still throwing well by midsummer next year. That’s the gospel truth of reliever volatility.

And if the truth of volatility is to be believed, offseason moves form an unholy triad where guaranteed contracts, limited roster spots, and lack of minor league options unite to change the soothing presence of a seemingly “playoff pen” in January into a raging hell of “who can we trade for” in July.

Just relax. The pen was good last year. If the pen becomes a problem that lasts into next June, DDski will try to cover it in-season.

Now is the time to focus on the hard stuff — everyday 3/4 batting power vs. overall long-term salary concerns.
 

chawson

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But you can’t know which of these will be still throwing well by midsummer next year. That’s the gospel truth of reliever volatility.

And if the truth of volatility is to be believed, offseason moves form an unholy triad where guaranteed contracts, limited roster spots, and lack of minor league options unite to change the soothing presence of a seemingly “playoff pen” in January into a raging hell of “who can we trade for” in July.

Just relax. The pen was good last year. If the pen becomes a problem that lasts into next June, DDski will try to cover it in-season.

Now is the time to focus on the hard stuff — everyday 3/4 batting power vs. overall long-term salary concerns.
Totally with you on the volatility. But I distinctly remember the feeling of watching the ALDS and seeing Farrell trust no one in our bullpen besides Sale, Price and Kimbrel.

I'd rather spend money now than prospects in July.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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In a heartbeat. He's worth a ton though. Maybe as much as Yelich.
He's what Swihart was supposed to be. If they upgrade from Vazquez to Realmuto and sign JD Martinez, the lineup will be just fine in 2018.

Edit: Wonder what a realistic package would look like. The Ozuna trade might be a decent barometer. How much Vazquez would be worth in return is obviously the big question.

Maybe Vazquez, Chavis, Alex Scherff and one of the mid-rotation ceiling high minors types like Mike Shawaryn?

You're getting 3 arb years out of Realmuto so he's got plenty of excess value. He'll be 27 next season.
 
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grimshaw

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He's what Swihart was supposed to be. If they upgrade from Vazquez to Realmuto and sign JD Martinez, the lineup will be just fine in 2018.

Edit: Wonder what a realistic package would look like. The Ozuna trade might be a decent barometer. How much Vazquez would be worth in return is obviously the big question.

Maybe Vazquez, Chavis, Alex Scherff and one of the mid-rotation ceiling high minors types like Mike Shawaryn?

You're getting 3 arb years out of Realmuto so he's got plenty of excess value. He'll be 27 next season.
Swihart's a great comp. Realmuto is like a top 3 defender over the past three years too. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=c&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=750&type=8&season=2017&month=0&season1=2015&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=20,d

I think it'll be more than Ozuna because of the position and cost. Ozuna is due to make around 12 to Realmuto's 4 next year by this site.
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/10/projected-arbitration-salaries-for-2018.html

Grandal and Avila are the only guys that could be available who are close, and both have warts. Grandal's bat slipped and Avila isn't that great defensively.
 
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MuzzyField

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My understanding is they bought a 33% stake and MLB still controls over 2 billion of its current value which is increasing, rapidly
Right after announcing it's streaming plans for 2018, Disney accelerated it's option, with MLB approval, to purchase a controlling interest . Not sure if the transaction has been approved on the regulatory front, but if so, it's Mickey Mouse 75%, MLB 15% with the NHL and other partners will split the remaining 10%.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2017/08/08/disney-accelerates-purchase-of-bamtech-espn-disney-will-see-new-digital-streaming-media-apps/#40d214324a5d
 

DeadlySplitter

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Vazquez was very nice in 2017 but you wonder what is true offensive level is and sometimes he tries to frame so much it leads to stupid, costly passed balls. in a short, a piece I would definitely move for a clear upgrade at the same position.

too bad Leon has no value now.
 

Green Monster

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upload_2017-12-18_14-13-22.png

Looks like his power is to LF........I am new to Fangraphs and haven't figured out how to superimpose Fenway
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
He's what Swihart was supposed to be. If they upgrade from Vazquez to Realmuto and sign JD Martinez, the lineup will be just fine in 2018.

Edit: Wonder what a realistic package would look like. The Ozuna trade might be a decent barometer. How much Vazquez would be worth in return is obviously the big question.

Maybe Vazquez, Chavis, Alex Scherff and one of the mid-rotation ceiling high minors types like Mike Shawaryn?

You're getting 3 arb years out of Realmuto so he's got plenty of excess value. He'll be 27 next season.
This seems like an awful lot. Vazquez is also a first-year-arb 27-year-old, so the difference in value is precisely the difference in production between the two. Is Realmuto really Chavis + Scherff + Shawaryn better than Vazquez? In 1621 career PA he's almost exactly a league-average hitter. Obviously, Vazquez is a good deal less than that. OTOH, according to StatCorner Realmuto is an atrocious framer, consistently in the bottom five in MLB with RAA numbers around -20, while Vazquez has ranged from +3.6 to +12.2. Granted, these framing metrics are not as well established as wRC+. But if those numbers are anywhere near valid it would take a lot of offense to make up for that gap.