It may have taken a while, but it appears the Miami Marlins have finally dealt All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. It was reported Thursday that the Marlins are sending Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies. The move gives the Phillies the most complete catcher in MLB who will slide into the middle of a dangerous lineup.
Jim Bowden was the first to report the deal:
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) February 7, 2019
Report: Philadelphia Phillies Acquire JT Realmuto from Miami Marlins
Many viewed a trade involving Realmuto as simply a matter of time following the beginning of Miami’s rebuild. The Marlins traded outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna leading up to the 2018 season. Among that group, Stanton won the 2017 NL MVP while Yelich would win the NL MVP for 2018.
Following those moves and a disappointing team record in 2018, Realmuto’s agent made it public that Realmuto did not intend to re-sign with the Marlins once a free agent. After that revelation, it seemed all but certain Realmuto would suit up for another team to start 2019.
In exchange for the coveted backstop, Miami received four players. Among those is Jorge Alfaro, a young catcher who will fill the void as Miami’s new starting catcher. RHP prospect Sixto Sanchez and LHP prospect Will Stewart are among the other players heading back to Miami. The fourth piece is reported by Ken Rosenthal as an international bonus slot.
Realmuto’s Track Record
No matter how you break down Realmuto’s numbers, he consistently comes out as the premier catcher in baseball. He slashed .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs, 30 doubles, 74 runs scored, and 74 RBI, accomplishing all of that on a terrible Miami squad. Realmuto led all catchers with 4.8 fWAR, more than a win higher than Yasmani Grandal (3.6) in second place. He did so while appearing in 15 fewer games than Grandal.
Defensively, Realmuto still grades quite well. His Defense rating on Fangraphs (explained here) came in at 8.2, good for 11th in all of baseball. For comparison, the MLB leader was Willson Contreras at 14.5. Though not the top defensive catcher in the game, Realmuto still finished ahead of other notable catchers in Buster Posey and Yadier Molina on the metric.
It is easy to see the draw to Realmuto’s services. The price for Philadelphia may have been steep, but there’s no denying Realmuto should be viewed as a game-changer, both for the lineup and in the field. Only time will tell if he can help bring another World Series back to Philadelphia.
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