The Phillies have engaged in recent conversations with the Miami Marlins regarding a trade for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, a baseball source confirmed. The talks were initially reported by several national outlets on Tuesday.
The Phillies were linked to Realmuto during the winter meetings two months ago. At the time, a member of the Marlins organization said the Phillies didn't have the prospects to pull off a deal. But after months of trying to move Realmuto for top value, the Marlins' price tag is believed to have come down and that has put the Phillies in the hunt.
Realmuto turns 28 in March and won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season. He hit .277 with 30 doubles, 21 homers, 74 RBIs and a .825 OPS for the Marlins last season. Realmuto has seen young stars and former teammates such as Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna get shipped out by the rebuilding Marlins and he is eager to be the next guy to go.
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The Dodgers, Reds, Padres and Braves were all considered top suitors for Realmuto earlier this winter, and they still may be to some level. But, with spring training just a week away, the Phillies have clearly joined the sweepstakes.
Any package of young players that the Phillies put together will almost surely include 25-year-old catcher Jorge Alfaro.
In addition to Realmuto, the Phillies continue to pursue top free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The Phils have already acquired shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson this winter. Adding Realmuto would turn a solid winter into a very good one for the Phils. Getting Machado or Harper on top of that might make the Phils the favorites in the NL East.
The Phillies on Tuesday signed veteran catcher Drew Butera to a minor-league deal. He will compete for the backup job.
Who will be the Phils' No. 1 catcher? Could it be J.T. Realmuto? Stay tuned.
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