Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto requested a trade out of Miami in December, owing to a lack of desire to play for a franchise that’s in the midst of a monumental teardown. At the time, the Marlins had already traded three of their top players – Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. Nearly two months later, Realmuto remains on the Marlins’ roster, though they parted with yet another star (Christian Yelich) last week. Unsurprisingly, then, Realmuto continues to hope for a trade prior to the season, his agent, Jeff Berry of CAA Baseball, told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
“No matter how his arbitration hearing turned out, J.T.’s preference remains the same,” said Berry. “He would like to be traded to another organization before spring training so he has an opportunity to compete for a championship.”
Berry mentioned Realmuto’s arb hearing, which he lost. As a result, the 26-year-old will make $2.9MM this year instead of the $3.5MM he requested. That fairly negligible difference isn’t going to affect Realmuto’s value, however, as it’s an extremely small price to pay for one of baseball’s best backstops. Realmuto’s also under arbitration control through 2019 and ’20, so he figures to give either the Marlins or another team a reasonably priced solution behind the plate for the next three years.
In talks with the Nationals and other clubs, the Marlins unsurprisingly “have been holding out for multiple high-end prospects,” Jackson writes. While slashing payroll has been a prime objective for the franchise this offseason, trading the cheap Realmuto would be more of a farm system-bolstering maneuver than anything. The Marlins, to their credit, have made headway in restocking the lower levels this offseason. Thanks to the trades they’ve made since December, they’ve climbed from 30th to 19th in Baseball America’s organizational rankings (subscription required and recommended). Miami still has plenty of work to do to turn its system into a strength, though, and moving Realmuto would further help the team achieve that.