With the Miami Marlins now selling off their valuable players to the highest bidder, the latest name to request a trade away from Derek Jeter’s new-look team is catcher J.T. Realmuto. And he could bring back a good haul if the Marlins decide to honor his wishes.
Craig Mish of Sirius XM reported Monday that Realmuto has requested a ticket out of Miami. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the report and they — like most MLB insiders — agree that interest in Realmuto could be significant. As Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan says, the return for Realmuto and outfielder Christian Yelich could be “franchise-altering.”
If the Marlins do go full teardown — and they have every reason to — the haul they can get for Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto, both of whom want to be traded, is franchise-altering. Others who could bring a good return: Justin Bour, Dan Straily, Jose Urena, Kyle Barraclough.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 18, 2017
It would be fair to say the Marlins didn’t exactly turn the farm-system rankings upside-down with their trades so far. They got a nice haul from the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Marcell Ozuna but the Giancarlo Stanton trade was more about salary relief than it was getting high-level prospects.
If the goal is to get back higher-level prospects and accelerate a rebuild, a player like Realmuto is what could accelerate that. And here’s why:
• He’s 27, so primed and experienced, but wouldn’t be a free agent until 2021. So he comes with a great amount of team control and a relatively low price tag.
• Realmuto is viewed as one of the best two-way catchers in the game — i.e., he’s good on offense and defense. He played 141 games last season and 137 the year before, which is rare today since many teams like to share catching duties.
• Of the the everyday catchers in MLB, Realmuto is one of the most productive. Last season, he was the third most valuable catcher, according to Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement. He ranked behind only Gary Sanchez (whose value is all in his bat) and Buster Posey. Realmuto hit 17 homers with a .278 average last season. He hit .303 in 2016.
A Realmuto trade isn’t going to happen just because he wants it to happen. The Marlins don’t have the same motivation to trade him as they do Stanton (i.e. saving millions of dollars), so Jeter and Co. could decide to build around Realmuto. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Marlins think Realmuto will be their opening day catcher and think he’s “close to untouchable.”
Of course, maybe the new Marlins front office learned something from their Stanton trade. You get a better return when you don’t look desperate.
– – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Ref’s ridiculous measurement saves Cowboys season
• LeBron sends clear message to President Trump with shoe choice
• NFL Winners and Losers: Tom Brady still the greatest
• Eric Adelson: Cheerleaders’ anthem protest brings major change