Posted on February 10, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

J.T. Realmuto

Image via sportingnews.com

After an offseason of blockbuster trades that saw them trade away their best players, the Miami Marlins may not be done yet. With spring training days away, one player remains squarely on the trading block: catcher J.T. Realmuto. When Miami’s fire sale began, Realmuto reportedly asked to be traded as well. However, the Marlins have kept a high price tag on Realmuto, which is a big reason why he’s yet to be dealt. However, it’s still possible that the Marlins deal Realmuto before the start of the season.

At the team’s fan fest event on Saturday, Realmuto acknowledged that he’s spoken with both Marlins manager Don Mattingly and President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill. They communicated to Realmuto that there’s no guarantee he gets traded before the season. Of course, it remains a distinct possibility. That puts Realmuto in a tough position heading into spring training.

“Obviously, there’s trade rumblings and people out there talking about it,” said Realmuto. “But for me, I’m just getting ready to play the season. That’s all I can do. I’m ready to be here, get ready to play the season, whether it is in Miami or somewhere else. I’m just here to do my job and play baseball.”

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The team that has pursued Realmuto the most this offseason has been the Washington Nationals. The Nationals were unhappy with the play of Matt Wieters last season and unsure what they’ll get out of him this season. They also aren’t sure if 24-year old Pedro Severino is ready to be the team’s primary catcher. That gives the Nationals a sense of urgency to upgrade behind the plate.

The problem is that the Marlins have asked for one of Washington’s top two prospects in a deal for Realmuto. Outfield prospects Victor Robles and Juan Soto are both ranked among the top 40 prospects, according to MLB.com. The Nationals are understandably hesitant to give up either prospect, even for a trade for Realmuto. However, the Marlins are not backing off on their demands.

More recently, the Houston Astros have been linked to Realmuto in trade talks. Houston currently has Brian McCann and Evan Gattis behind the plate. That duo was good enough for the Astros when they won the World Series last year. However, both are on the wrong side of 30 and likely in their last season with the team. Realmuto would give the Astros a younger and more affordable catcher for both 2018 and beyond.

Of course, Miami is still asking for a lot in return for Realmuto. They have reportedly asked the Astros for their top prospect, outfielder Kyle Tucker. The Astros are reportedly mulling over the possibility of exchanging Tucker for Realmuto. But the price to add Miami’s young catcher may be too much for a team that doesn’t need to improve that much in order to compete in 2018.

As it stands, the odds of the Marlins trading Realmuto before the season appear to be shrinking. Even with at least two teams showing significant interest, Miami’s asking price may be too high. That being said, the Marlins drove a hard bargain in trades for Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, and still managed to get good returns for both players. That’s why it’s impossible to rule out the Marlins trading Realmuto before the start of the season.

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