Phillies trade talks with the Marlins for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto are "gaining momentum," according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi.
A report out of Miami Wednesday indicated the Marlins would need to land top Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez in a deal. It may sound like a big ask, but it makes sense given Realmuto's value as the best catcher in baseball under contract for 2019 and 2020. This upcoming season, Realmuto will make $5.9 million.
Sanchez, 20, is a very intriguing right-handed pitcher who may one day be atop a rotation. But it's far from a sure thing that his best-case scenario plays out, and the Phillies could look at this particular situation as the one worth parting with him.
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The Phillies have been very cautious with Sanchez's development. In 2017, he excelled at Single A Lakewood and High A Clearwater. In 2018, he again pitched well for Clearwater but elbow soreness in June ultimately ended his season. A setback then caused him to skip the Arizona Fall League.
It is expected the Phillies would also have to part with catcher Jorge Alfaro in a deal. Opinions are mixed when it comes to Alfaro. Some think his defense can improve and that his pitch-framing already makes him a strong option behind the plate. Others see all of the passed balls, some on relatively easy pitches to catch, and wonder if he can be a reliable long-term option behind the plate for a contending team. Offensively, he makes loud contact but not enough of it. At 25, there is still room for improvement.
Yet even if Alfaro develops, it's hard to envision him being a better major-league catcher than Realmuto. If the Phils can add Realmuto and one of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, look out. It would create one of the deepest lineups in the National League, if not the deepest.
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