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Decision on Realmuto enters critical stage

December 16, 2018

MIAMI -- With the Mets likely now out of the bidding, the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes is entering a crucial stage. According to a source, this week promises to go a long way in determining if the Marlins trade or retain the All-Star catcher.Either way, Miami would like some closure before

MIAMI -- With the Mets likely now out of the bidding, the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes is entering a crucial stage. According to a source, this week promises to go a long way in determining if the Marlins trade or retain the All-Star catcher.
Either way, Miami would like some closure before Christmas.
The Mets reportedly agreed to terms with catcher Wilson Ramos on Sunday, but sources say the Rays, Dodgers and others are still having discussions for Realmuto. About six teams are believed to still have interest.
The Braves, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, are no longer in serious contention. But that could be subject to change, if Miami's asking price changes. The Astros are another possibility to be on the fence.
The Reds, Padres and Brewers are also possibilities, and there is speculation that the Angels might also have interest.
At last week's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, the Mets aggressively pursued the 27-year-old catcher who has two years remaining in arbitration before being eligible for free agency in 2021.
According to a source, those talks had never progressed to the point of being considered "close" to a deal. Miami sought a player or two off New York's big league roster. Outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, and shortstop Amed Rosario all had been mentioned as possible centerpieces of a trade.

The Rays have a deep farm system, and a potential target for Miami could be left-handed-hitting outfielder Jesus Sanchez. The 21-year-old is ranked No. 33 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.
The Dodgers have outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, who is No. 32 in the Top 100 rankings.
Since the Winter Meetings concluded on Thursday, the Marlins have been working toward trying to find a match. But all the while, Miami has noted that it is prepared to carry Realmuto into Spring Training and beyond, rather than reduce its asking price.
Realmuto is entering his prime, and he enjoyed a stellar season in 2018, posting a slash line of .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs. His 4.8 fWAR is tops among all MLB catchers.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.