Marlins seeking top talent in a Realmuto trade
Nationals, D-backs among reported suitors for Miami's young catcher
MIAMI -- The Marlins already have made major trades and sweeping changes, and they might not be done dealing yet. What's next for catcher J.T. Realmuto still remains unresolved.
Since December, Miami has listened to trade proposals for Realmuto. The Nationals are one of the clubs most interested, and they may also be the favorites to land the rising star.
Still, Washington is not alone in the pursuit. According to sources, at least a dozen teams have had discussions with the Marlins about Realmuto. Another potential fit is Arizona. The Nationals and D-backs each made the playoffs last year, and both have catching needs.
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According to multiple sources and reports, the Marlins covet either of Washington's top two ranked prospects -- outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto. MLB Pipeline on Saturday unveiled its Top 100 Prospects list, and Robles ranked sixth, while Soto came in 29th.
Sources say neither prospect is available, and the Nationals instead are open to a package that would center around shortstop Carter Kieboom and right-hander Erick Fedde. The two are third and fourth, respectively, on Washington's Top 30 Prospect list. MLB Pipeline listed Kieboom 90th on the Top 100 ranking.
Arizona's system isn't as deep as Washington's. The D-backs' top-rated prospect is Pavin Smith, a left-handed hitting first baseman who rates 91st overall.
The Marlins have been one of the most active teams this Hot Stove season, completing four major trades. The latest came last Thursday when outfielder Christian Yelich was dealt to the Brewers for outfielders Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.
In December, Miami traded Dee Gordon to the Mariners, Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals.
Realmuto, 26, is in his first year of arbitration, and he has three more years of club control before being eligible for free agency.
The Marlins have no urgency to trade Realmuto, but that could change if the right offer is presented. The question is whether something can get done before Miami opens Spring Training on Feb. 14 in Jupiter.
Realmuto is coming into his prime, and he's already shown his versatility. He can run, hit, throw and play first base. His slash line in 2017 was .278/.332/.451 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs. He also stole eight bases.
As National League East rivals, the Marlins and Nationals are not strangers. They both have Spring Training headquarters in Palm Beach County, and the teams will meet seven times in Grapefruit League action, including thrice in the first week.
If Realmuto winds up with Arizona, he could reunite with one of his former teammates, catcher Jeff Mathis, who was with Miami from 2013-16.