As we inch closer to pitchers and reporting to Spring Training across the majors, the Philadelphia Phillies along with a host of other teams are waiting to see what decisions Bryce Harper and Manny Machado make about their long-term futures.
While those situations are still very fluid, the Phillies are doing their due diligence on other free agents and players who are on the trade block.
Ken Rosenthal of The Atheltic reported on Tuesday that Philly checked in on Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. He added that the veteran catcher’s availability led to renewed communication, but there is no indication that a deal is close.
Last week, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that the Marlins were in substantive talks with the Cincinnati Reds for Realmuto. The two squads were discussing a potential trade involving a package of top prospects.
In addition to the Reds, Miami has also spoken with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason.
However, this is not the first time that we’ve heard Realmuto’s name connected to the Phils. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported back in November that Philadelphia would be open this offseason to trading some of their controllable talented players for a playmaker like Realmuto, who will not hit free agency until after the 2020 season.
Realmuto’s agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, also mentioned on MLB Network Radio this offseason that the 27-year-old catcher had no interest in signing a contract extension with the Marlins.
Last season, the first-time All-Star had a slash line of .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI. He is also a pretty good defensive catcher with a .992 Fld%, eight passed balls, and a caught stealing percentage of 38.
With all that being said, would Realmuto be an overall upgrade over Jorge Alfaro? Without question.
Despite his tremendous arm strength, Alfaro did not do a good job of blocking balls across the plate and struggled offensively. Hence, why the Phillies made a trade at the deadline for veteran Wilson Ramos.
However, the Phils did not re-sign Ramos, who joined the New York Mets in free agency. Heading into this season, the Phillies’ catchers could potentially be Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp, and Drew Butera, who they reportedly signed to a minor-league deal.
While it appears that Alfaro will be the team’s starting catcher, they do need a competent secondary option. Therefore, it will be interesting to see who steps up and what happens in the Realmuto sweepstakes.