I don't have a clue RIGHT NOW what Buxton and Sano will do in 2019 and neither does anyone else with any reasonable degree of certainty. This is part of the point. It's a lost season but we have almost a half of the season left to see if they can turn it around.
Not advocating to sign Realmuto or any other player requiring us to give up our best prospects at this moment is very far removed from “punting 2019. Most everyone who is an advocate suggests we are in a window of contention based on control of Buxton and Sano. I am suggesting that it does not make sense to trade key prospects to build a team around two players who are performing so badly they are in the minors. At a minimum take the rest of this lost season, make a more informed decision at the end of the season and act accordingly in the off season.
Part of the difference in opinion here is some of the posters have indicated the goal is to win a weak central division. If that’s the goal, I can see the point. I have said before that I believe the goal should be to construct a team that’s on par with the top teams in the AL. In other words, a team that has a 50/50 shot of winning a playoff series. If the goal is to build an actual contender, I have seen nothing written here that indicates any of the trade for Realmuto supporters have considered what it would take to build a contender and what is the best path to that goal.
We are on pace to win 75 games. Even if Buxton and Sano come back to be 5 WAR players and we add Realmuto, we are still not close to competitive with the 4 teams on pace to win 100 games and those teams are all built to be good for several years. What do we do about SP? We have one proven SP signed beyond 2019 and the existing staff is not going to be adequate to contend next year. Mike has pointed out the FA market for SP is weak. What would we have to give up to get a front of the rotation SP with 3+ years of control? Ops, we still need a whole lot of help in the BP. Oh, we are forgetting replacing Mauer and Dozier.
So, what I am hearing is let’s push are chips in the middle because our window with Buxton and Sano is closing. First, we extended Mauer so it’s certainly not a forgone conclusion we would lose them both. Secondly, they are failing so spectacularly that they have been sent to the minor. Neither can stay healthy. We should ignore the fact that our SP is not nearly at the level of contention and we have one good SP signed beyond 2019. Let’s ignore the bullpen needs almost a complete overhaul. Let’s ignore we have to fill 1B and 2B.
Someone will have to show me how we fill all of these holes, especially by opening day 2019. While you are at it, explain to be how a team of a 75 win pace with all of these issues is in a window of contention.
To be clear, I don't think adding a 5 WAR player simply adds 5 wins. That's a complex approximation that provides some context around results, but hardly an absolute value. Adding good players top through the bottom of the team will certainly make the results greater than the sum of the parts. But I'd add that you would still need to makes some sort of move at 1B/DH, which in this market is oddly enough, cheap to do. That's also a big reason why I'm advocating keeping Escobar.
Pitching, I agree is still weak, though I'm not sure how you figure we have 1 SP. I'd say there are two pretty good ones right now in Berrios and Gibson. There's a slightly above average one in Odorizzi, and wild cards in Pineda (who could be very good), Romero (who is probably a lock for 2019), May, and some of the AAA guys. I'd also argue that the pen can largely get figured out in this lost year. There are plenty of guys on the 40 man who need shots and Molly needs to play them...
So no, I wouldn't punt on 2019. And regardless, you'll still need a catcher. If things don't pan out, you can trade Realmutto or take the comp pick when he leaves absorbing the risk for his potential injury. The flip side to all of this is that if you do nothing, and Sano and Buxton make strides, we wasted 2019 as well.