It has been reported for days now that the Philadelphia Phillies have become one of a number of teams talking to the Miami Marlins regarding a trade for all-star J.T. Realmuto.
The catcher will turn 28-years-old on March 18, right in the middle of spring training. An Oklahoma native, Realmuto was the Marlins choice in the third round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school.
He reached Major League Baseball for a cup of coffee with the Fish in the 2010 season, and then became the club’s starting catcher the following season.
Last season, Realmuto emerged as a National League all-star for the first time, won the NL Silver Slugger Award for catchers, and became universally regarded as the top backstop in the game.
His numbers during that 2018 campaign included a .277/.340/.484 slash line with 21 home runs, 74 RBI, and 74 runs scored. It was his third consecutive season producing 30 or more doubles. Fangraphs statistical compilations reveal him to also be one of the top defensive catchers in the game today.
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) February 6, 2019
Though it was unable to be confirmed by Frisaro, it is also believed that the Marlins would want catcher Jorge Alfaro as part of the package. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and CEO Derek Jeter are believed to be examining the Phillies minor league system for a possible third piece to the return package.
Frisaro reports that Miami would ideally like to get a deal done before their pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 13.
However, he also notes that all players on the club’s 40-man roster are required to attend Marlins Fest, which is scheduled for this coming Saturday and “it would be uncomfortable to have Realmuto at the ballpark if he is on the verge of being traded.”
Realmuto is signed through 2020, so the Phillies would have him for at least two full seasons. They would almost assuredly try to extend that deal by at least a couple of years at some point. The San Diego Padres reportedly made a formal request to speak with Realmuto’s agent Jeff Berry regarding an extension prior to their own trade talks, a request that was denied by Miami. Any such talks would happen after the catcher is in a Phillies uniform.
A deal for Realmuto would likely not be the last move by the Phillies, who are still front-runners for the services of free agent superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. A Realmuto trade might actually be a signal that the club truly believes that they are going to land one of the young free agent studs and will be going all-in to contend right away in the coming season.
If that is indeed the plan and the Phillies feel sure that they will acquire one of the big fishes, then adding this particular Fish star makes sense. Sanchez is indeed an elite prospect, but the Phillies would be getting the top catcher in all of baseball in the prime of his career.
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly one of the other major players in a Realmuto deal with Miami. Assuming Frisaro is correct in his timing on such a deal, you can expect something will come together quickly. And with the Phillies scheduled to officially open their own spring training camp next week, we should be getting a lot of big, important news very soon.
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