After making moves last week and still looking to add to their pitching staff, are the L.A. Dodgers rethinking a deal for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto?
All of the sudden, it looks like teams might back off a trade for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros have both made overtures of bringing in the 27-year-old All-Star and making a push toward the World Series. Now, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team perceived to be the front-runner in this sweepstakes, may have pumped the breaks a bit after a blockbuster deal completed before Christmas.
Realmuto might be one of the more attractive names to be had this offseason, with slugger Bryce Harper in the Dodgers radar and a potential deal for pitcher Corey Kluber on the table still within reach for Los Angeles. The question now is which player gets the most attention and can the front office pull off the unthinkable and acquire all three stars to their talented roster?
As Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times wrote, ” in wake of a trade which sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati in exchange for pitcher Homer Bailey, a pair of prospects and some financial flexibility — only viewed in a new context: Are the Dodgers willing to be irrational about free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper?”
The deal was a shock to the baseball world as the Reds also appear to be one of the teams trying to acquire Realmuto and have just recently become a team to watch. Any deal made with the Marlins will be for MLB players with controllable contracts and prospects. Many baseball insiders believe the trade value for Miami has been overstocked, asking for more than the catcher might be worth.
There are others who believe if a deal is not done before the start of Spring Training, when will it get done this season? Realmuto’s value is at its highest right now. The Marlins front office wants to cash in at the right time as if this were a stock market grab.
News about Realmuto’s desire to join another franchise and not sign a longterm deal caught on like wildfire, but has simmered a bit because the Marlins don’t have to trade him and the demand in return is too much. The Braves have two catchers on their roster. They may not want to part with top pitching prospects. The Astros have stated they will not part with their top minor league prospect, Kyle Tucker, either.
The Dodgers must decide if adding a backstop is more important than adding one of the better sluggers in the game or another solid arm to the rotation.
“What matters is what comes next. What matters is how the Dodgers utilize the roughly $14 million they’ve freed up on their luxury-tax payroll,” McCullough explains. “It could be for Harper. It could be in swinging a trade for [Miami Marlins catcher J.T.] Realmuto or Cleveland Indians pitcher [Corey] Kluber. Or it could be signing one of the volatile but talented relievers available.”
The Marlins need a power hitter, a veteran reliever and a backstop, should a trade deal be worked out. With teams beginning to slow down in their pursuit of the Marlins star, how long will it be before an agreement is made?