The Marlins have been dangling J.T. Realmuto in trade talks since last summer. While rumors about the all-star catcher’s potential new home have been quiet of late, they’re gaining a quicker pace. The big change was free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal signing with the Brewers, leaving teams who lost out on the pursuit of Grandal to get back to the Marlins.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that there are six teams that are in the running to acquire Realmuto from the Marlins. Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston, the L.A. Dodgers, San Diego and Tampa Bay are the teams listed by Frisaro as being in the mix to acquire Realmuto.
The Phillies would actually be positioned well to engage the Marlins in talks for Realmuto since Miami is hoping to net a top prospect and a young catcher with some major league experience to replace Realmuto. The Phillies have a strong farm system with highly rated prospects and could include Jorge Alfaro in a deal to acquire Realmuto. Alfaro opened last season as the Phillies starting catcher but lost some time first to Andrew Knapp and then to Wilson Ramos after the Phillies traded for Ramos at the trade deadline. As things stand now, Alfaro would again have the edge to reclaim the job out of spring training.
The Braves would appear to be the only one of the teams showing an interest in Realmuto to not have a young catcher that they could include as part of the package back to Miami. The Astros have Max Stassi, the Dodgers have Austin Barnes, the Padres have Austin Hedges, the Rays have Michael Perez and Cincinnati would likely include Tucker Barnhart in the deal. Barnhart is signed through 2021 with an option for 2022 and is guaranteed $16-million over the rest of the deal.
All six of the other teams, like Philadelphia, have deep farm systems that they could dig into to find talent to include in a deal.
The Phillies have not been connected to searching for another catcher either through a trade or free agency even though Ramos left as a free agent.
Realmuto, who turns 28 in March, was eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career but signed a one-year, $5.9-million deal with the Marlins on Friday. Last season he reached career highs in home runs with 21 and RBI with 74, while batting .277/.340/.484 in 125 games with Miami.
Alfaro hit 10-37-.262/.324/.407 in 108 games with the Phillies last season and will turn 26 in June.