11:59am: The Nationals, too, are interested in both Realmuto and Yelich, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. The Nats’ interest in Realmuto has been previously reported by the Washington Post and MLB.com, among others, though GM Mike Rizzo’s club hasn’t been prominently linked to Yelich due to its own strong collection of outfielders. Per Frisaro, the Nats could have interest in trying to land both players, though that’s likely true of many teams.
Frisaro notes that the Marlins would covet both Victor Robles of the Nationals and the Braves’ Acuna, though both clubs would likely be reluctant to part with their top-ranked minor league talents. Rosenthal tweets that the Nationals would be loath to part with either Robles or fellow outfield Juan Soto, for instance. It’s a similar tale for the Phillies — an oft-cited Yelich suitor — as Frisaro writes that Rhys Hoskins would surely appeal to the Marlins, but it stands to reason that he’d be near untouchable after his stellar 2017 debut.
Talks regarding both Yelich and Realmuto are expected to pick up next week, according to Frisaro.
8:52am: Not only have the Braves called the division-rival Marlins to express interest in Christian Yelich (as has been previously reported), they’ve also tried to engage Miami in talks on catcher J.T. Realmuto, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Talks between the two sides haven’t advanced too far in either case as of late, he notes, but it seems as though the Braves have some level of interest in attempting to pry one or both players out of South Florida. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears that the Braves have expressed interest in acquiring the pair, though he classifies it as doubtful that new GM Alex Anthopoulos would part with the overwhelming level of talent it’d take to land both players.
Atlanta will trot out a pair of solid veterans on one-year commitments — Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki — to handle the bulk of their catching duties in 2018, whereas Realmuto and his remaining three years of control would give them a longer-term answer behind the dish. There’s a clearer spot for Yelich following the trade of Matt Kemp to the Dodgers, but Atlanta wants to leave space for top prospect Ronald Acuna to debut in an outfield corner as well. O’Brien speculates that perhaps the Braves could convince Miami to take on Nick Markakis and his salary if Martin Prado or another pricey veteran heads back to Atlanta in the deal.
While both Yelich and Realmuto are immensely popular trade targets — Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes (subscription required/recommended) that “virtually every club” is interested in trading for Yelich — it seems that there was at one point some positive momentum between the two sides. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets that Atlanta and Miami “made some progress toward” a trade involving Yelich back at the Winter Meetings. The Marlins, though, pumped the brakes on talks a bit as they dealt with significant PR backlash from trading away the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna, according to Bowman. He does add that talks were expected to resume eventually.
Certainly, acquiring even one of the two would require a massive haul. (Rosenthal, for instance, spoke to one exec who suggested that the Marlins could rightly ask three to four “genuine assets” in exchange for Yelich alone.) Acquiring both in one swoop would presumably require one of the largest packages of young, controllable talent in recent memory.
Even after being stripped of a dozen prospects on the heels of their recent front office scandal, the Braves have one of the game’s strongest farm systems, though there are still untouchable players in the organization (O’Brien has tweeted more than once that Acuna simply is not available in discussing scenarios with his followers). On paper, then, it’s possible that the two sides could line up for a swap, though things are never quire so simple. Other factors to consider include the financial component of a deal, whether the Marlins would charge some type of premium for dealing their top two remaining stars to a division rival, and what type of splash the new Anthopoulos-led Braves front office wants to make on its first significant move in Atlanta.
It’s worth stressing, again, that the Braves are merely one team that is interested in the pair of young Miami stars. In that same column, Rosenthal writes that the Nationals have already checked in on Realmuto, while the Astros “would figure to be interested” in the Miami backstop as well. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro wrote yesterday that upwards of dozen clubs were in on Realmuto. As for Yelich, the Cardinals, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Giants, White Sox and even the outfield-heavy Cubs are among the teams that have been connected to him in previous reports, and surely there are others that have at least gauged the asking price as well.