The Marlins announced today that they’ve activated catcher J.T. Realmuto from the 10-day disabled list. Realmuto, who opened the season on the shelf due to a lower back contusion, went 3-for-3 with a homer in his lone rehab game and will jump right into the mix in Miami, as he’s in the lineup tonight. Fellow catcher Chad Wallach was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans to clear a spot on the roster.
Realmuto, 27, was the subject of a cavalcade of trade rumors this offseason as the Marlins tore down the majority of their roster, trading away stars Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. Realmuto’s agent reportedly made it clear to the club that he, too, would prefer a trade, but he instead remains on hand as perhaps the lone star left on a new-look roster.
Miami is off to a 4-12 start to the season, though the return of Realmuto should help to bolster the lineup. The 27-year-old has steadily improved in each of his seasons at the big league level and is now widely considered to be one of the game’s top all-around backstops. Last year, in a career-high 579 plate appearances, Realmuto hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers and eight steals while also controlling the running game well (32 percent caught-stealing) and delivering strong pitch-framing marks.
The Marlins control Realmuto through the 2020 season, and given the turnover elsewhere on the roster, it stands to reason that he could once again come up in trade talks this summer. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported the other day that the Fish don’t have any current desire to shop Realmuto, though that could change, of course, if enough contending clubs are in need of catching help this summer. At the very least, one has to imagine that Miami president of baseball ops Michael Hill and the rest of the Marlins’ front office will be open-minded about the possibility of a trade — especially given the team’s poor start and their likely status as the NL East’s cellar dweller in 2018.