In an offseason where the Philadelphia Phillies appear intent on making multiple big splashes, Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto is the latest big name to resurface in regards to the Phillies.
According to Craig Mish of Sirius XM, the Phillies “have joined the pursuit” of the All-Star catcher, who is expected to be one of the most discussed trade targets at next week’s MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Mish does add, however, that the Phillies appear to be “longshots” to land the 27-year-old.
This isn’t the first time that the Phillies have been connected to Realmuto, with MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki suggesting earlier this offseason that the Phillies were likely to touch base with the Marlins regarding Realmuto. Various reporters, including Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, have suggested that the Marlins prefer not to trade Realmuto to another National League East team. Mish opined that well-publicized interest from the Washington Nationals, along with the Phillies and New York Mets, is a sign that they aren’t unwilling to consider the possibility. It is worth pointing out that a majority of the league has been connected to Realmuto in some form.
Realmuto slashed .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs, 74 RBIs and a 4.8 fWAR in 2018, the highest fWAR mark that any catcher in baseball posted in 2018. He also can’t become a free-agent until after the 2020 season, so any team that acquires him would have control of him for two full seasons.
Jeff Berry, Realmuto’s agent, predicted earlier in November that come next Spring Training, Realmuto won’t be a Marlin. He added that Marlins brass is aware that Realmuto has no plans to sign an extension to play in Miami past the 2020 season. That’s backed up by a report from Mish that surfaced on Monday that suggests that Realmuto declined two separate extension offers.
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. Wilson Ramos, acquired prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, hit .337 in 89 at-bats for the Phillies, but is likely to price his way out of Philadelphia.
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