News flash: pedestrian player with few homers will not be in Home Run Derby

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As we mentioned last night, Robinson Cano is once again the captain of the AL Home Run Derby team and will pick his side’s squad. From the New York Post:

 If you think Royals fans were displeased at Robinson Cano for not naming Billy Butler to the AL’s Home Run Derby team last year, they aren’t going to any happier this year. “No chance,’’ Cano said when asked if he would pick Butler, who has five homers, for this year’s competition at Citi Field.

Question: on what planet would the five-home run-hitting, .408-slugging Butler be a candidate for the team anyway? It was at least plausible for him to be a candidate in 2012, having hit 16 homers at the break and having the Derby in Kansas City, but it’d be silly this year. So why is anyone asking him that question to begin with?

You know — and call me crazy — I’m almost starting to think that reporters like to read storylines into things where they do not naturally exist.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly asks to be traded

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Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.

Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.

Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.

Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.