The Miami Marlins go into the new year with a team full of youngsters, veterans on the pitching staff and a catcher who still has not been dealt after stating he did not want to be part of the team’s future.
The clock is ticking for Major League Baseball. The Miami Marlins are sitting and waiting for the right deal to be offered for catcher J.T. Realmuto. News and rumors continue to swirl like the winds in south Florida, but no deal has been completed, yet.
While the holidays have slowed the process, a deal must get done before the team can move forward in its plan for the 2019 season. What was once thought to be a non-factor in the blueprint of another year under new management, trading Realmuto, arguably the best catcher in the game today, has become a dark cloud over Marlins Park and the baseball community.
As Steve Adams and Jeff Todd of mlbtraderumors.com wrote, the process must be resolved sooner rather than later.
“Last winter, the Fish played coy on Christian Yelich but ultimately dealt him. They nevertheless held Realmuto — a decision that actually seems to have worked out,” they added.
It worked out that the catcher had by far his best season career-wise, but it also created an issue because he is the team’s only true star and the most marketable player on the team. He is also the last link to the pre-Derek Jeter era of the organization. Had the team kept Yelich and possibly Marcell Ozuna and built the roster around these three players, the win-loss record might have been different.
Now, it’s a game of tug-o-war with no clear winner in sight other than the fact the Marlins control his contract for 2019 and 2020.
“While he’s now just two years from free agency, Realmuto also firmly established himself as the game’s best overall catcher in the interim. Now, we’re seeing more talk about hanging onto him entering another rebuilding season,” both writers state.
“That seems only to be cover, though, because the risks greatly outweigh the upside (if any) in holding on to Realmuto to open the season. Several suitors have moved on, but others remain. The Marlins ought to pick the best bid in the coming weeks.”
In doing so, they know the Atlanta Braves are still interested. Third base prospect Austin Riley and righty Mike Soroka, the team’s top minor league prospect, have been mentioned in a deal. Also, Sean Newcomb, who was 12-9 last season in a Braves uniform, could be part of a deal per multiple sources this offseason.
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to remain a contender, as does the Houston Astors, sans Kyle Tucker as part of a deal. The Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres are all part of the recent trade talk. The most interesting team on the radar is the Milwaukee Brewers, the team the Marlins traded Yelich to last offseason.
A reunion of the two former Miami players could be just what the NL Central team needs to get to the World Series in 2019.