Marlins to stay quiet on Realmuto over holiday

November 21st, 2018

MIAMI -- No Thanksgiving Day trade surprises are expected by the Marlins regarding All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. For now, Miami is expected to be relatively quiet during the holiday weekend.

That hasn't always been the case with the organization. Longtime fans may recall Thanksgiving 2005, when the Florida Marlins announced not one but two major trades right around when people on the East Coast were preparing dessert.

On Nov. 24 of that year, they dealt Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to the Red Sox for , , and . And before the baseball world had digested that deal, the Marlins also traded Carlos Delgado and cash to the Mets for Mike Jacobs, and Grant Psomas.

Though the Marlins don't anticipate trading their best player this weekend, the club was busy on Tuesday. It added seven prospects to the 40-man roster, including outfielder , right-hander Jorge Guzman and second baseman .

On Tuesday night, Miami announced a Minor League trade. Right-hander Nick Anderson was acquired from the Twins for infielder Brian Schales. To make room on the 40-man roster for Anderson, veteran infielder/left fielder was designated for assignment. And on Wednesday, the Marlins got Minors right-hander Tyler Stevens from the Angels in exchange for lefty .

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

With Dietrich off the roster, Realmuto -- who made his Miami debut in 2014 -- becomes the longest-tenured Marlin on the big league roster. The looming question is whether the 27-year-old will actually play for the Marlins in '19. At least 10 teams have expressed various levels of interest in Realmuto, arguably the best catcher in the game.

According to multiple sources, the Marlins are holding firm on their demands. In return, they are seeking a top prospect and more. That was the position Miami took for almost a year in talks with Washington. From the Nationals, the Marlins sought either Juan Soto or for Realmuto. A few days ago, the Nats ended up signing free agent instead.

The sense is the Marlins intend to hold on to Realmuto, who has two more seasons left in arbitration, until their price is met. The organization is in no rush, because the All-Star has value to their plans, too. He is a fixture in the lineup who works well with a young pitching staff. Miami is also entering the second year of what it hopes is a three-to-five-year plan to be in postseason contention.

There is a hope that the Marlins will be competing for at least a Wild Card spot in 2020, which would be Realmuto's final year of arbitration. He is eligible for free agency in '21.

With no urgency to make a trade, the Marlins can continue to explore the market. If nothing is tempting during the Hot Stove season, they could still make a deal in Spring Training or perhaps at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Dodgers are known to have strong interest in Realmuto, and they might be willing to part with their top prospect, outfielder , ranked No. 32 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list.

The Astros have also been in the mix for about a year, but the question is whether they will give up either outfielder (No. 5 on the Top 100 list) or right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 8). Houston hasn't budged on either player.

A potential match is the Angels, another club seeking to win while it has under contract. Their top prospect, outfielder Jo Adell, is the No. 15 prospect in the game.

Because it's unlikely that Realmuto will agree to a contract extension with the Marlins, the trade speculation will continue. It is expected to heat up leading into the Winter Meetings in December.