J.T. Realmuto, an All-Star in 2018, has probably been the best catcher in baseball over the past two seasons. The Phillies have gotten and up-close-and-personal view of Realmuto’s career, as he’s starred for the division-rival Miami Marlins, and has six career home runs against the Phillies. Naturally then, the Phillies, who are casting the widest possible net in a crucial offseason, have interest in acquiring the soon-to-be 28-year-old. Whether they possess the pieces to complete a trade or not is less certain.
According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies don’t match up well in a trade, making such a deal unlikely:
But a person with direct knowledge of those discussions said a deal was unlikely.
“They don’t have enough,” the person said, referring to the quality of major league-ready prospects that the Phillies could offer compared to other clubs that are interested in Realmuto.
It is true, none of the Phillies top three prospects are especially close to the major league level. No. 1 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez, who the club has reportedly been willing to discuss, pitched just 45.1 innings in 2018, and they all came at Single-A Clearwater. Adonis Medina, the organization’s No. 2 pitching prospect, also spent 2018 at Single-A, in a season with quite a few outliers (perhaps they weren’t outliers then?) overshadowing his tremendous talent. And the organization’s top position playing prospect is Alec Bohm, a third baseman that they selected in the 2018 MLB Draft, that some aren’t sure will stay at third base.
At the same time, the Phillies roster features quite a few young talents. None of Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez, Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, Nick Williams or Aaron Altherr is going to headline a deal. But each has a place in the majors in their current forms, with the belief on each being that they have fairly high ceilings. Former first-round pick Adam Haseley, who hit .305 between Single-A and Double-A in 2018, hasn’t shown a ton of power, but he hits and could play a role in the majors at some point in 2019. If the Phillies were willing to add Sanchez, who has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, onto a package of some talent already at the major league level, it’s hard to think that package would be altogether dismissed. Unless the Phillies have ruled out using Sanchez in a trade for Realmuto, it seems strange to think that they couldn’t at least get the Marlins attention.
The Phillies do have some things working against them in their pursuit of Realmuto. First of all, a majority of the league appears to have some level of interest in him. Secondly, the Marlins, like any team, would probably prefer not to trade their best player to a team in their division. So the asking price for the Phillies may be higher than a team like the Houston Astros.
It’s unclear if the very raw Jorge Alfaro would be of interest to the Marlins. If not, there’s a good chance that the 25-year-old, who possesses a generationally strong arm and unharnessed power, will be the team’s starting catcher to open the 2019 season. Though a reunion with Wilson Ramos doesn’t seem especially likely, the Phillies could very well upgrade their backup catching position.
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