Yesterday, Jon Morosi reported news straight from J.T. Realmuto’s agent:
NEWS: Jeff Berry, agent with @CAA_Baseball, on @MLBNetworkRadio just now regarding client J.T. Realmuto: “I think he will definitely be wearing a different uniform by the start of spring training.” Berry made clear that Realmuto won’t sign an extension with #Marlins. @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 30, 2018
It is no surprise Realmuto wants out of the circus that is the Marlins organization right now. He wanted out prior to last year when the Marlins traded all of their talent besides Realmuto, and nothing that happened this past season should change that. Realmuto was one of the best players that was never talked about unless you were lucky enough to play the Marlins last season. Meanwhile, his former running mates became a star in New York and the MVP of the National League. Realmuto has every reason to want out, and if he is unwilling to sign an extension, it’s hard to see the Marlins not giving him his wish.
Scroll through baseball Twitter, and you will find a fan of every team imagining a deal to bring in Realmuto. The Braves are undoubtedly at the top of that list and have expressed interest in the All-Star catcher. They have all the prospects in the world to make a deal and have a need as Kurt Suzuki hits free agency
However, the Marlins are going to be asking for a treasure chest of prospects in return, something Anthopoulos may not be willing to meet.
In reality, it is hard not to say Realmuto is somewhat overrated. Sure, the market for catchers that can hit is extremely thin, but this is not the type of bat that is going to put the Braves over the top. Realmuto has only managed to hit over .300 once in his career (.303) and has never had an on-base percentage over .343. Tyler Flowers actually had a higher on-base percentage in each of the last three seasons by a considerable amount.
Power numbers between Realmuto and the Flowers/Suzuki combination were fairly similar as well, making the best argument for acquiring him his defensive ability and the lack of options available at the minor leagues. Both of which will play a critical role if the Braves decide to make the move.
Realmuto threw out 38% of base runners in 2018, ten points higher than the league average. He’s as complete as catchers come in today’s MLB, which is why he led all catchers in WAR last season. The combination of him and Tyler Flowers would be a huge edge on any other team at the position.
This could be the very first blockbuster trade we see to acquire a big name, officially signaling the end of the rebuild (if an NL East championship did not already do that). Nonetheless, there are certainly some concerns, like the Marlins asking price. Realmuto is also only under contract for two more seasons, which would make this the ultimate win-now move. If the Braves do decide to pull the trigger, expect it to be the first of many this offseason.