The Houston Astros have reportedly in engaged in trade talks with the Miami Marlins regarding star catcher J.T. Realmuto, reports Craig Mish of Sirius XM.
In these trade discussions, Mish reports that Miami has asked Houston for top outfield prospect Kyle Tucker as the centerpiece in the package, and the Astros are said to be considering offering Tucker to the Marlins. Mish also states that there is a 50% chance Realmuto is traded by the Marlins before opening day.
If Miami decides to part with Realmuto, it will further deplete the Major League roster of proven talent, and would yet be another unpopular decision among Marlins fans. The Marlins have already traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Dee Gordon this off-season, as a large-scale rebuilding project in Miami has been started by new ownership.
From the Astros perspective, Realmuto would only make them more dangerous, and they could potentially afford to deal Tucker with depth already in the outfield at the Major League level, in George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Reddick, and Derek Fisher. Acquiring Realmuto would also allow for the Astros to put Brian McCann into a designated-hitter role, and have him split time with Evan Gattis in such role. Gattis can also play the corner outfield spots, which again could make the decision to part with Tucker easier.
The Marlins are also now able to create more leverage in trade talks involving Realmuto, as they can now set up a bidding war between the Astros and the Washington Nationals to increase the talent level of prospects potentially coming back to Miami. Washington has long been interested in Realmuto, and would need him more to solidify their team the Astros. According to reports, the Nationals have been unwilling to part with their top outfield prospect Victor Robles in trade talks, but perhaps Houston getting involved in the trade talks could make the Nationals more inclined to do so.
You can make the argument that it makes since for Miami to part with Realmuto, or keep him. He is still under team control for 3 more seasons, and plays a position an elite level that most teams don’t have elite play at. You then also have to balance the return you can get for Realmuto, and it if it’s an offer similar to the package the Marlins received for Yelich from the Milwaukee Brewers, I think you may have to strongly consider it. It should be interesting to see what Miami does here.
It was also reported in December by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that Realmuto requested a trade, so perhaps meeting the request of Realmuto would be the best thing for the Marlins organization to do now, and going forward. Still, if Realmuto remains with the Marlins, he says he will play out the season with the Marlins in a professional manner:
“I know what you guys know,” Realmuto said. “Obviously, there’s trade rumblings and people out there talking about it. But for me, I’m just getting ready to play the season. That’s all I can do. I’m ready to be here, ready to play the season, whether it is in Miami or somewhere else. I’m just here to do my job and play baseball.”
In 141 games for the Marlins in 2017, Realmuto slashed .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers and 65 runs batted in. If he stays with the Marlins in 2018, he is the most likely candidate to be the organization’s representative at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game in Washington D.C.
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