Hill: Extension talks 'definitely up to' Realmuto
Marlins open to signing All-Star catcher to long-term deal
MIAMI -- The General Managers Meetings are in full swing, but not much has changed on the J.T. Realmuto trade rumors front. That likely will change in the upcoming days and weeks leading into the annual Winter Meetings.
The GM Meetings, being held in Carlsbad, Calif., feature clubs getting a sense of the market and floating around ideas. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is in the process of listening to potential interest in his All-Star catcher, Realmuto.
Heading into the GM Meetings, Miami insisted there was no urgency to deal Realmuto, and the status quo continues.
"There's really no change there," Hill said Tuesday night on the Marlins Hot Stove radio show hosted by Kyle Sielaff. "It's definitely up to J.T., if he chooses to accept an extension. But we know that he's under control for the next two years, and we'd be extremely happy to have him as part of what we're building."
Access to the Marlins Hot Stove show is available on Marlins.com.
An All-Star for the first time this past season, Realmuto established himself as one of the best catchers in the game. The 27-year-old batted .277/.340/.484 and had career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (74).
Last week, agent Jeff Berry of CAA told MLB Network Radio that Realmuto has already informed the Marlins that he will not sign an extension.
Realmuto is entering his second year of arbitration, and he will be eligible for free agency in 2021.
"He had a tremendous season," Hill said. "We're here in California trying to improve this club and take that next step forward. J.T. Realmuto is a big part of that."
Realmuto is preparing to play in the MLB Japan All-Star Series. The MLB squad is managed by Miami manager Don Mattingly.
The general sense is if Realmuto doesn't have a change of heart, declining a chance to sign long-term, then the Marlins may seriously consider trading their best player.
Between now and the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in December, there should be more clarity if an extension is realistic.
Miami is working within payroll parameters of around $100 million. Realmuto made $2.9 million in 2018, and in arbitration that figure projects to jump close to $7 million.
The average annual value for the best catchers in MLB is $20 million. To get Realmuto interested in signing could mean a contract around four years and $80 million or five years and $100 million.
The Astros, Dodgers, Nationals and Braves are among the teams believed to be in the market for a front-line catcher.
Hill repeated that the price for Realmuto on the trade market will be high.
"Whenever you're talking about making moves and adding talent, in whatever form it is, it's the cost of doing business," Hill said. "From our standpoint, we know we need to get better -- 63 wins last year. As we look in California, and continue on to Vegas and the Winter Meetings, we know we need to get better. That is ultimately our goal."