7:24pm: The Nationals asked about Realmuto during the Winter Meetings but were told that the Marlins weren’t planning to deal him, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. Matt Wieters’ struggles in 2017 make Washington a natural candidate to look for a catching upgrade, though Collier notes that it isn’t GM Mike Rizzo’s style to make a huge trade offer for Realmuto that the Marlins couldn’t refuse.
5:34pm: The Marlins are in “active trade discussions” about outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports (Twitter link). No trade is imminent, Morosi notes, and the exact nature of Miami’s willingness to deal either of its controllable young stars isn’t yet determined.
According to Clark Spencer and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, three sources give slightly different descriptions of the talks. One source says the Marlins are “more seriously considering offers” than in the past, and are particularly listening on Yelich. Another source says that the Marlins are listening to offers but “not aggressively shopping” either player, while the third source says rival teams have been informed by Miami that Yelich and Realmuto “are available for the right price.”
It’s worth noting that none of these three takes on the situation really contradict each other, and ultimately, the Marlins could simply be doing their due diligence in exploring what they could get for two very valuable trade chips. There have been conflicting reports on whether the Marlins were really looking to move Yelich (or Realmuto), or if the team had completed much of its heavy lifting in terms of payroll clearance in previous trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and (to a lesser extent) Marcell Ozuna.
Both Yelich and Realmuto have been disappointed with this latest Miami rebuild, with Realmuto going so far as to reportedly ask for a trade. Since both players are under team control (Yelich via an extension, Realmuto via arbitration) for several more years, they don’t have any real leverage to make a deal happen, though obviously the Marlins could see value in moving players that no longer want to be there, especially when those two players could bring back multiple young assets in return.
As Jackson and Spencer note in their piece, the Marlins could try to capitalize on Yelich and Realmuto’s trade value by attaching one of their remaining big contracts (i.e. Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa) to either of those players in a trade. Multiple teams have been linked to Yelich for months now, while Realmuto would certainly generate almost as much interest, even from teams that may have a solid catcher in place but could be swayed by the idea of landing a younger option.