TODAY: The Marlins aren’t allowing teams to discuss an extension with Realmuto, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (Twitter link). This would certainly seem to be an obstacle for the Padres, given Morosi’s earlier news. Beyond the Padres and Dodgers, Frisaro also lists the Rays, Reds, Braves, and Astros as suitors in the Realmuto sweepstakes, and it’s still “hard to handicap who has [the] inside edge” at this point.
FRIDAY: Trade talks between the Marlins and rival organizations regarding backstop J.T. Realmuto are “gaining momentum,” according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). In particular, he adds, the Padres and Dodgers are “believed most prominent” in the current stage of talks.
Those NL West rivals have long been rumored to be in the hunt for a player who established himself as the game’s best receiver in 2018. With two affordable seasons of control remaining, Realmuto is one of the top prizes of the offseason. That has led other teams — even some with established catchers — to enter the fray as well. At this point, it’s not at all clear that any of the previously rumored interested parties are out of the picture entirely. Frankly, there’s still little reason to believe that any given team is a favorite after months of still-unresolved chatter.
It is interesting, though, to see that report of momentum coincide with this additional, new bit of information: The Padres are not just interested in acquiring Realmuto’s final arbitration-eligible seasons. Rather, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link), the San Diego organization is “insisting on [a] window to negotiate [a] contract extension” if they are to line up on a deal with the Marlins.
Structuring a deal in such a manner holds obvious appeal for the Padres, who surely do not fully expect to contend in 2019. And that could enable the Fish to maximize their return; no doubt, the Padres’ loaded farm includes quite a few players of interest, with San Diego backstops Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia also representing sensible targets. But it also comes with some risk for the Miami organization. After all, a failure of the extension talks would mean re-opening trade negotiations, possibly with diminished leverage.
It’s worth bearing in mind, of course, that we’ve been waiting all winter for a Realmuto deal to come into focus. Perhaps it finally will — there isn’t much of a window left before camp opens, after all — but this certainly isn’t the first time we’ve been told of a build-up in talks. (See here and here.)