Miami Marlins’ catcher J.T. Realmuto is not going to sign an extension with the Marlins, so he will likely be tied to every team in the market for an upgrade behind the plate this winter.
Realmuto’s agent, Jeff Berry, told MLB Network Radio in an interview on Tuesday that the 27-year-old catcher, (who’s under team control through 2020 and coming off a .277/.340/.484, 30 double, 21 home run, 4.8 fWAR 2018 campaign), has, “... informed the Marlins’ ownership, he’s informed their front office, he’s not going to sign an extension in Miami.”
“It makes sense, when you have one of the more valuable trade assets in baseball, to move him. Period,” Berry added, as quoted by Miami Herald writer Clark Spencer.
“I think he will definitely be wearing a different uniform by the start of Spring Training.”
Realmuto was, of course, a target for the Washington Nationals last winter, as they tried to upgrade their catching corps, though the asking price for the catcher was reportedly high and beyond what the Nationals were willing to do (with top Nats’ prospects like Juan Soto and/or Victor Robles + more the reported ask).
When rumors of more talks about the catcher cropped up this past summer, GM Mike Rizzo said that they were inaccurate.
“I’ve seen reports that we offered Victor Robles plus more than that for Realmuto,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies in July.
“But we never made an official offer for Realmuto other than discussions that [the Marlins’ President of Baseball Operations] Michael Hill and I have had in the past.”
Veteran catcher Matt Wieters, who struggled to stay healthy in his two seasons in D.C., and struggled at the plate when he was in the lineup, is a free agent this winter.
Rizzo stated clearly that he thinks an upgrade behind the plate is high on the Nationals’ wish list this offseason.
“Wieters is a free agent,” Rizzo told the Junkies in late September. “We’ve got our two young kids in [Pedro] Severino and [Spencer] Kieboom, who — Kieboom has had a nice year as a backup catcher for us this year, but I agree that a frontline catcher is a guy that we should target and go after, because it’s a huge position defensively, first of all, it’s a guy who controls a game, and I think you saw when Wieters went down, the way the pitchers threw to the catchers was as important as any type of offense you’re getting from the catcher’s position.”
“It’s a position of need,” Rizzo continued, “... it’s a position that we’re going to have to target and go after next year, and I think it’s something that’s going to really help the ballclub if we land one of those guys.”
So will the Nationals and Marlins be talking about Realmuto again this winter or do Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office have other plans?
Realmuto lost in arbitration last winter, settling for $2.9M (he asked for $3.5), he’s set to get a raise to around $6.1M in 2019, which would be a significant discount from the $10.5M the Nationals paid Matt Wieters in 2018, and he would be an upgrade behind the plate...
What will the Marlins be asking for this time around if the two sides start talking again? Will the Nationals consider trading Victor Robles if they do sign Bryce Harper? Will they know if they’ll have Harper back in time to make a decision? Would Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office consider trading top infield prospect Carter Kieboom?