3:38pm: The Reds are still talking to the Marlins about Realmuto but aren’t including Senzel in the trade negotiations, Jon Heyman tweets.
1:34pm: Yet another suitor has emerged for J.T. Realmuto, as SiriusXM’s Craig Mish (Twitter link) reports that the Reds “have jumped into” talks for the Marlins catcher. It isn’t a new interest, however, as the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer hears that Cincinnati has been interested in Realmuto “for a while.” Current Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart and outfield prospect Taylor Trammell have been mentioned as possible candidates to go back to Miami in the deal, according to Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman (via Twitter).
Cincinnati has been linked to a number of big names in trade and free agent speculation this winter, with their focus largely aimed at pitching but also such notable position players as A.J. Pollock, Yasiel Puig, and Ender Inciarte. Acquiring a catcher, however, would count as something of an unexpected move on the Reds’ part, since Barnhart was signed to a four-year extension just in September 2017. As Realmuto is arguably the best catcher in baseball, there’s obvious upgrade potential for Cincinnati, and adding such a star player with just two years of remaining control further indicates the Reds’ willingness to make a quick return to contention.
Never an above-average hitter, Barnhart slashed .248/.328/.372 last season, which represented a dip from his 2017 production. Defensively, Barnhart continued to have some of the lowest framing rankings of any catcher in baseball (as per StatCorner and Baseball Prospectus), and his once-elite throwing arm also took a hit, as Barnhart threw out just under 24% of all baserunners trying to steal on him last season. On the plus side, Barnhart continued to draw high marks for his pitch-blocking abilities.
Barnhart is owed $10.25MM in guaranteed money over the next three seasons (including a $500K buyout of a $7.5MM option for 2022), so he’s still be a very affordable piece to solidify Miami’s catching situation if he was part of the Realmuto trade package. Trammell is a longer-term piece, and the type of blue chip prospect the Marlins have been seeking in exchange for their All-Star catcher.
Trammell is a consensus top-50 prospect in all of baseball, ranked as the second-best prospect (behind Nick Senzel) in the Reds’ system. MLB.com is most bullish on Trammell, ranking him 17th on its top 100 list. Drafted 35th overall in 2016, Trammell is regarded as an excellent athlete with outstanding speed, and a developing approach at the plate. The 21-year-old showed improved contact skills and plate discipline in his third pro season, and MLB.com’s scouting report believes Trammell will develop more power as he ages.