Rumors

Report: Possible ‘traction’ in Phillies’ trade talks for J.T. Realmuto


J.T. Realmuto of the Miami Marlins will turn 28-years-old during spring training. He has emerged as the top all-around catcher in baseball. (Ian D’Andrea/Flickr)

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, there appears to be some “traction” growing in trade talks between the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins regarding all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

This report comes after The Athletics’ Ken Rosenthal mentioned this morning that there was renewed communication between the Phillies and Miami regarding Realmuto.

The Phillies join a number of teams recently reported to be pursuing such a trade. Those other clubs include the NL East-rival Atlanta Braves as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds. None of the teams appears close to actually consummating a deal with the Marlins.

The 27-year-old Realmuto has become an offensive powerhouse in Miami, hitting .277 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs in 125 games last season when he further produced a 4.3 bWAR figure.

Realmuto’s defense behind the plate was also stellar. He had a .992 fielding percentage in 951.0 innings played at the catcher position. Realmuto also had a stealing-against percentage of 38 percent, which was fourth-best in the National League. For his efforts, Realmuto was named to his first NL All-Star team and won the National League Silver Slugger award.

Realmuto’s salary for 2019 is only $5.9 million, a huge bargain for a player of his caliber. In addition, Realmuto isn’t eligible to become a free agent until after 2020. That only increases his value on the trade market, as an acquiring club would have his services for two full seasons.

There have been no specific return packages mentioned, so we have no idea which prospects the Marlins might want in return in a Phillies deal. But looking at prospects tossed around in Realmuto talks with other clubs could give an idea of what the Phillies might need to sacrifice.

Joe Frisaro at MLB.com reported this weekend that the Reds and Marlins had been discussing a potential package that included catcher Tucker Barnhart and  prospect Jonathan India. The latter was the first round pick at fifth overall by Cincinnati in last year’s MLB Amateur Draft.

Using that as a gauge, Jorge Alfaro could become a possible piece in any Realmuto trade to the Phillies. If the Phillies plan to extend Realmuto should they acquire him, parting with Alfaro would be made that much easier.

Frisaro mentioned that the Marlins would indeed be looking for a replacement for Realmuto, one who would be able to help the team’s youthful pitching staff. Alfaro, 25, may not perfectly fit that leadership role, but an argument can easily be made that Alfaro has a much higher ceiling than Barnhart.

India ranks 53rd overall on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list. The only Phillies prospect who ranks higher than that would be pitcher Sixto Sanchez, who is ranked 27th overall. The Phillies are not keen on parting with Sanchez, even with his injury issues last season.

If the Phillies can avoid including Sanchez in such a deal, then pitcher Adonis Medina, ranked 77th overall, could be a realistic trade piece. The overall 59th-ranked prospect, third baseman Alec Bohm, was the Phillies pick at third overall in last year’s draft. He could also be included in a Realmuto deal.

The Phillies pursuit of Realmuto could also be affected by their ongoing involvement with free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. If one of the those two should sign with Philadelphia, there could be a push to go all-in for the upcoming season.

It continues to be a very busy off-season for general manager Matt Klentak and the rest of the Phillies management team. But we are still left at this time with little more than rumors.

 

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