MIAMI -- The Marlins remain in trade talks with the Dodgers regarding J.T. Realmuto, and per multiple sources, one of the names being discussed in return is top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz.Miami has had on-and-off dialogue with the Dodgers for most of the offseason for Realmuto, and five other teams
MIAMI -- The Marlins remain in trade talks with the Dodgers regarding J.T. Realmuto, and per multiple sources, one of the names being discussed in return is top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz.
Miami has had on-and-off dialogue with the Dodgers for most of the offseason for Realmuto, and five other teams are said to still be in the mix for the All-Star catcher: the Rays, Padres, Astros, Braves and Reds.
The Realmuto trade saga has been one of the most publicized Hot Stove stories, and Miami appears willing to hold out as long as possible until the right deal is in place. The club's asking price has included a top prospect and more.
In recent days, the Marlins have also been mentioned in rumors as possibly being a "mystery team" in pursuit of free agent Manny Machado. They aren't, according to sources. At this stage of Miami's building process, it is not ready to make such a substantial investment in a free agent.
As for Realmuto, the Marlins have been engaged with as many as 14 teams over the course of the offseason.
A few weeks ago, it appeared that the Dodgers had moved in another direction, especially after acquiring veteran catcher Russell Martin from the Blue Jays on Jan. 11. But sources said that Los Angeles indeed is still interested in Realmuto, and Ruiz is a possibility to be part of a deal with Miami.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 39 overall prospect, Ruiz is the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect. The 20-year-old is a switch-hitter who is getting close to being big league ready. At Double-A last year, Ruiz had a slash line of .268/.328/.401 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs.
One reason the Marlins have lengthened the process of trading Realmuto is because they are thin at the catcher position. Will Banfield, their Competitive Balance Round B pick in 2018, is just 19 years old and a few years away from being ready.
Realmuto and Chad Wallach are the only catchers currently on Miami's 40-man roster. Realmuto, 27, was an All-Star in 2018, and has emerged as one of the best catchers in the Majors. Last year, he hit .277 with career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (74).
Earlier this month, Realmuto avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $5.9 million salary for 2019. He has two seasons remaining in arbitration before being eligible for free agency.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.