ATLANTA -- The Braves made it clear that, individually, each of their prospects was available in exchange for J.T. Realmuto. But they were not willing to provide the volume of prospects or the MLB-experienced asset sought by the Marlins, who ended an offseason-long saga by dealing the All-Star catcher to
ATLANTA -- The Braves made it clear that, individually, each of their prospects was available in exchange for J.T. Realmuto. But they were not willing to provide the volume of prospects or the MLB-experienced asset sought by the Marlins, who ended an offseason-long saga by dealing the All-Star catcher to the Phillies on Thursday.
The Phillies acquired Realmuto in exchange for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, Minor League left-hander Will Stewart and international bonus pool money. From a prospect perspective, the Braves had the capability to trump or at least match this package. But they were not willing to provide the controllable MLB-ready asset Miami gained in Alfaro, who served as Philadelphia's primary catcher last season.
Atlanta possesses one of baseball's top farm systems, but a heavy majority of the Braves Top 30 Prospects are pitchers. In other words, the Braves do not possess the organizational depth to seriously think about offering Ozzie Albies, who would have been their only available asset who fit the Marlins' preference to gain a high-quality controllable player capable of immediately playing at the Major League level.
The Braves pursued Realmuto before last summer's non-waiver Trade Deadline and through the first six weeks of this offseason. But after sharing a discussion with the Marlins on the first or second day of this past December's Winter Meetings, Atlanta's brass essentially moved on and focused on having Brian McCann and Tyler Flowers share the catching duties this season.
Last summer and again this winter, the Marlins made it clear their top target within Atlanta's system was Austin Riley, a power-hitting third baseman who could make his MLB debut some time this season. The Braves would have been willing to highlight a prospect package with Riley, but they were not willing to provide the collection of prospects the Marlins apparently sought.
Discussions shared during the early portion of this offseason led the Braves to believe the Marlins were unwilling to trade Realmuto to a division rival. According to The Athletic, the Phillies gained this same sense before reigniting conversations last weekend.
The Braves, Dodgers, Reds, Padres, Astros, Mets and Nationals were among the many teams linked to Realmuto, who is considered by many to be the game's top catcher. The Phillies were considered a potential suitor in November. But they weren't considered a likely option until each of these other teams balked at the cost of acquiring two years of the 27-year-old catcher.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.