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J.T. Realmuto is the real deal — but a fit for the Nationals?

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Is J.T. Realmuto a potential fit for the Nationals?

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Much has been made about catcher J.T. Realmuto in the free agent market. Aside from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, Realmuto might be the biggest draw.

Much ado about something, it seems. It’s been suggested that the Washington Nationals could be a potential landing spot for the veteran catcher.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi said that he could see the Nationals getting in on Realmuto.

In 2019, Realmuto, 30 in March, posted 5.7 fWAR in his first season with the Phillies. In a shortened 2020, that number was 1.7.

As of this writing, the Nationals have two catchers on their 40-man roster: Tres Barrera and Yan Gomes.

The latter played in 30 games a year ago and posted a 0.2 fWAR; the former was handed a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

If the Nationals hope to contend in 2021 — which all signs point to attempting a run at the playoffs — then Realmuto seems like a good fit. He certainly fills any deficiency which can be found at the catcher spot, although that would allocate a lot of money to one player while other holes still need filled.

Still, Washington has a tall order ahead of them as much of the National League East seems to consist of formidable opponents.

The Atlanta Braves are still atop the division, while the New York Mets are trying to make moves to put themselves back into the playoffs.

The Miami Marlins will likely play the “thorn in the side of contenders” role. As for the Philadelphia Phillies, who knows what direction they’re headed in, after being out of contention for major free agents due to financial constraints; oh, and by the way, they’ll still be saddled with Bryce Harper’s colossal contract for the next decade.

But if Realmuto is out of the cards for the Nationals, a much more reasonable — and cost-conscious option — remains on the market in James McCann. He would make more budgetary sense because the Nationals still have gaps in their roster. But the Mets seem to be mobilizing around McCann and I haven’t heard any real traction surrounding McCann and the Nationals. It’s possible they will regret that, but if the Nationals can land Realmuto on a reasonable contract which they feel will still give them enough flexibility to continue making adjustments to the roster, then they should go for it.