THURSDAY: The Phillies are “gaining momentum” in their pursuit of Realmuto, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Precisely what that means isn’t clear, but it seems the sides have reason to believe they could line up on a swap.
Mish tweets that he expects a deal to occur today, though he does not specify that Realmuto will necessarily be sent to the Phils.
WEDNESDAY, 4:00pm: Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Daily News also hears that the Marlins’ preference is to find a deal for Realmuto in the very near future (Twitter link). Like Frisaro, he notes that Sanchez is viewed by the Marlins as a key piece in the deal, adding that young catcher Jorge Alfaro would need to be included in the swap as well.
Frisaro notes that the Miami organization would like to wrap up a deal with one of the remaining suitors before the club holds its annual FanFest event this Saturday.
TUESDAY: The Phillies appear to be re-emerging as a candidate to land Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted earlier today that the clubs have been in contact of late, while Yahoo’s Tim Brown now notes on Twitter that “there could be some traction” between the clubs, suggesting it is a situation to monitor.
As ever, it’s worth taking this news with a grain of salt. The trade saga surrounding Realmuto has dragged on for the entirety of the offseason, with numerous reports suggesting that certain suitors were rising or falling in likelihood. With February upon us, Realmuto remains a Marlin.
That said, this match makes potential sense on paper and these particular journalists aren’t prone to dropping bread crumbs of information in a scattershot manner. On the Marlins’ side, it seems all but certain that the Miami club will end up shipping Realmuto elsewhere. Following an outstanding 2018 season, and with two seasons to go before he reaches free agency, his value will never be higher. There are plenty of interesting assets in the Phillies system that would hold appeal to the rebuilding Marlins.
The Phillies have been eyeing up major acquisitions all winter long, but haven’t yet pulled the trigger. While the focus has been elsewhere, it’s plenty arguable that the team could stand to improve behind the dish. Jorge Alfaro has promise, and has been rather productive thus far in the majors, but is far from a sure thing after striking out 138 times in 377 plate appearances last year. Meanwhile, Andrew Knapp struggled a fair bit in his first full effort at the game’s highest level.
This latest chatter may not lead to anything. We recently heard that the Reds were progressing in talks on Realmuto, only for that talk to fall off. Over the weekend, reports emerged and were then shot down that the Rays were back in the hunt. It has been suggested that negotiations were nearing a crescendo, but things remain unresolved.
Still, it’s certainly intriguing to imagine that the Phils are making a push here. The club could conceivably envision a strike for Realmuto as part of a broader late-market push to land multiple high-end players. Realmuto, after all, is earning only $5.9MM in 2019, so his salary won’t make much of a dent and surely won’t preclude much larger expenditures. Alfaro could in theory be a part of the return, as he’d be just the sort of controllable, reasonably high-upside MLB asset that would help the Marlins feel good about parting with their best player. And it may be coincidental, but it’s worth noting that the Phils just struck a deal with veteran Drew Butera, who might in theory make for a sensible reserve to pair with a heavily used regular such as Realmuto.