MIAMI -- J.T. Realmuto isn't the only order of business for the Marlins as they prepare for next week's Winter Meetings. Adding bullpen depth also is on their priority list.So when the Meetings start on Monday in Las Vegas, look for the Marlins to be focused on Realmuto and relievers.For
MIAMI -- J.T. Realmuto isn't the only order of business for the Marlins as they prepare for next week's Winter Meetings. Adding bullpen depth also is on their priority list.
So when the Meetings start on Monday in Las Vegas, look for the Marlins to be focused on Realmuto and relievers.
For much of the Hot Stove season, Miami has been preoccupied with Realmuto trade rumors.
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The All-Star catcher has expressed that he is not interested in a contract extension, and the Marlins are open to trading Realmuto. According to a source, 14 teams remain in the mix for the 27-year-old who established himself statistically as arguably the best catcher in the Majors.
But a trade isn't cut and dry. Realmuto has two more years remaining in arbitration, so Miami doesn't feel it needs to deal him if the club's price isn't met.
"As I've said, he's on our club," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We control him for two more years. That's really all that needs to be said from that standpoint on our end."
The Mets have been among the more active teams in conversations for Realmuto, as have been the Dodgers. The Astros, Rockies and Braves are other possibilities.
Hill addressed the Realmuto situation Thursday morning on MLB Network's Hot Stove show.
Asked if the Marlins have any reservations about trading Realmuto to a National League East rival, Hill said: "I think you have to be open to everything. What we're trying to do is build a sustainable product, and add as much talent as we can to the organization, and build for the short term and long term. In doing so, I don't think you can be short-sighted with whatever you're looking to do.
"Obviously, there's been a lot of conversations and a lot of talks with a number of teams, and there should be. You're talking about arguably the most talented catcher in all of baseball. From our standpoint, we're listening, and ultimately, we'll do what we feel is in the best interest of the Miami Marlins. I've always said, if we get what we want, we have no problem trading anywhere. That's the overriding part of this. If it's in the division, it's in the division. If we feel like we've made ourselves better, then it's something that you have to consider."
Ideally, the Marlins would like some form of closure on the Realmuto situation over the next week. They don't want the speculation to drag into January, so the Winter Meetings promise to be active.
For Realmuto, Miami is seeking a club's top prospect, and more.
The Marlins also are exploring the market for at least one veteran reliever.
Miami is not necessarily seeking a closer but someone who has had success in late innings. A few free agents that fit the mold are Jeurys Familia, Jake Diekman, Adam Warren and Kelvin Herrera.
"We've done that in the past, where that veteran has some history closing games," Hill said. "I think when you're talking about that veteran stabilizer in that role, it's someone who has pitched in leverage situations. Someone who is not necessarily a closer, but someone who has pitched in high-leverage situations."
In October, the Marlins traded Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals. The right-hander recorded 10 saves and logged 55 2/3 innings for Miami in 2018.
The Marlins have a relatively young back end of the bullpen, with Drew Steckenrider the likely closer and lefty Adam Conley and hard-throwing right-hander Tayron Guerrero the setup men.
"If the right veteran influence is out there to help a Drew Steckenrider with his development, and Adam Conley and Tayron Guerrero, we'll look at that as the offseason continues," Hill said.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.