MIAMI -- Marlins manager Don Mattingly hasn't ruled out the possibility of having J.T. Realmuto on his squad this season.If anything, as a guest on MLB Network's Hot Stove show on Friday morning, Mattingly hinted the Marlins are prepared to enter Spring Training with their All-Star catcher still on the
MIAMI -- Marlins manager Don Mattingly hasn't ruled out the possibility of having J.T. Realmuto on his squad this season.
If anything, as a guest on MLB Network's Hot Stove show on Friday morning, Mattingly hinted the Marlins are prepared to enter Spring Training with their All-Star catcher still on the roster.
"For me, I'm ecstatic right now, because I feel like we're walking into camp with J.T. again," Mattingly said during his phone interview. "He gives us a better chance to win and grow as an organization."
The subject of daily trade speculation, Realmuto was an All-Star in 2018 and statistically made a case for being the best catcher in the Majors.
• Marlins at standoff in market for Realmuto
But a few months ago, his agent, Jeff Berry, publicly stated that Realmuto is not open to signing a contract extension with Miami, and trade rumors have been ongoing all offseason.
The Marlins' stance, however, has been that there is no urgency to deal Realmuto, who has two more seasons remaining in arbitration before being eligible for free agency in 2021.
Miami also has not lowered its demands for Realmuto.
"I know you have to do what you have to do to further your organization," Mattingly said on Hot Stove. "But as a manager, I'm loving this guy, feeling like he's going to be back in camp with us because he's everything you want."
If the Marlins do not trade Realmuto, perhaps they will revisit a contract extension before pitchers and catchers workouts begin on Feb. 13 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium Complex in Jupiter, Fla.
"J.T., he's the real deal," Mattingly said. "That's why, I think, we've put a price tag on him that's way up there. I feel like he's one of the best catchers I've seen athletically. He can run, throw. He hits. He hits for power.
"When you say you want to build something around a guy, this is a guy we'd love to do it around. Obviously, J.T., or his agent, made what he thinks public knowledge, but I think, just as a manager, you love this guy on your club."
Mattingly joined Hot Stove to promote the Mattingly Charities' "Find A Way" event on Thursday at his home in Evansville, Ind.
Mattingly, actor/comedian Joe Piscopo and MLB Nework's Harold Reynolds will be featured guests.
"We're really proud of some of the things we're getting accomplished there and the kids we are serving and giving a chance to make some good decisions," Mattingly said.
More information on the event is available @MattinglyChrty on Twitter.
"Any way we can to keep kids involved in school, keep them around good mentors and give them a chance to make good decisions," Mattingly said.
Mattingly enters his fourth season as Marlins manager and the second of Miami's building process under the ownership group headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter.
"I think you have to look at this year as kind of the second year of new ownership," Mattingly said. "I think Derek and Mr. Sherman and all the new ownership basically said, 'We're going to build this thing from the ground up.' I think we all knew that last year was going to be a tough year from the standpoint of a lot of turnover. We traded a lot of good players away, but knowing what we're doing, I think in Year Two, we're going to expect to be better, be more competitive and get this thing going in the right direction."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.