How much outside interest is there in J.T. Realmuto? The Marlins are about to find out.
When the General Managers’ Meetings are held next week in Carlsbad, California, teams interested in trading for the All-Star catcher might need to take numbers as they await their turn to talk to the Marlins about him.
The interest level is expected to be high, especially after Realmuto’s agent said earlier this week that the catcher does not intend to sign a contract extension with the Marlins and expects him to be traded before spring training.
“I think he definitely will be wearing a different uniform by the start of spring training,” Realmuto’s agent, Jeff Berry, told MLB Network Radio. “It makes sense, when you have one of the more valuable assets in baseball, to move him.”
The Marlins have discussed an extension with Realmuto, a source told the Herald, and that the two sides are far apart on any deal, making it close to certain the Marlins will trade him. While the Marlins control Realmuto for two more seasons before the catchers hits free agency, his trade value in terms of what the Marlins can expect to receive in return will never be higher.
Since the Marlins are rebuilding and not expected to put a contending team on the field for at least a couple of years, hanging on to Realmuto the next two seasons would serve little purpose to the Marlins.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill did not elaborate when asked Friday about the Realmuto situation.
“We know it’s up to him if he accepts an extension or not,” Hill said.
Realmuto is a career .279 hitter who has averaged 15 home runs over the past four seasons. He was selected to his first All-Star team last season. While the numbers aren’t striking when standing alone, they are comparatively better than the vast majority of catchers in the majors. As such, Hill said he expects there to be interest in Realmuto at the upcoming G.M. meetings, just as there would be for any talented player.
The Astros, Braves, Phillies and Yankees are among a host of teams who could approach the Marlins about the catcher.
But the Marlins are prepared to move on if Realmuto chooses not to sign a deal.
“Whether or not he signs an extension or wants to stay in Miami, that’s not up to us. That’s entirely up to him,” said Marlins chief executive owner and part-owner Derek Jeter this week in a team podcast. “But where he plays for the next two years is entirely up to us. Our bottom line is this organization is not about one particular player. It’s about 25 guys that we have here at any given time. We want everyone to buy into what we’re building here.”