MIAMI -- Two veterans the Marlins are counting on to be fixtures in the everyday lineup are ready for Spring Training to start on Wednesday, but their status still may change before Opening Day or at some point during the season.
Until informed otherwise, catcher J.T. Realmuto and second baseman Starlin Castro are ready to play ball, eager to not create any waves in the Marlins' clubhouse. The two attended FanFest presented by Papa John's on Saturday at Marlins Park.
"I know what you guys know," Realmuto said in his first public statements of the offseason. "Obviously, there's trade rumblings and people out there talking about it. But for me, I'm just getting ready to play the season. That's all I can do. I'm ready to be here, ready to play the season, whether it is in Miami or somewhere else. I'm just here to do my job and play baseball."
Castro, acquired in December from the Yankees as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, made it clear he is embracing his opportunity to be with a rebuilding team in Miami.
"They told me they're happy to have me be here, and I'm happy too," Castro said. "I'm going to be out there and try to play hard. Everybody has to do their job, like me. I think we're going to be together and fight together."
As important as Miami's rebuilding process will be towards developing sustainable success long term, the organization knows that all the players on the current roster must buy in.
Spring Training starts with pitchers and catchers' workouts on Wednesday at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Full-squad practices are set for Feb. 19.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and manager Don Mattingly had numerous discussions in recent weeks with Realmuto and Castro to make sure the two were on board with the team's rebuild.
"I've had multiple conversations with Mike Hill," Realmuto said. "Multiple conversations with [Mattingly]. Once the season starts, all of this is going to be behind us. I'm going to show up and play and prepare the same way I have in the past. Nothing is going to change in that aspect. So, for me, once the season gets going and we know where we're at, we'll have this behind us."
The Marlins remain open to listening on a number of players, but have made it clear they'd only entertain trading Realmuto in an overpay situation.
"The trade discussions are always ongoing," Hill said. "That's something that never stops. The phone never stops ringing. Probably the focus at this point of spring, because there's been so many free agents out there, has been with agents, if there are opportunities in free agency. But you never stop looking at ways to get better."
Hill added that he expects Realmuto, one of the top young catchers in the game, to be with the Marlins on Opening Day.
"J.T. is a pro," Hill said. "He's here at FanFest. He's ready to go. He's ready to have a great season, and we're excited to have him part of what we're doing. He's here. He's excited and ready to go. I expect him to be here, be our catcher and be a productive member of the Miami Marlins."
The Marlins have had a busy offseason, trading Stanton, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
"I played five, six, seven years with those guys," Realmuto said. "It's tough to see them getting traded like that. Not that I disagree with what they're doing, but just from my point of view, it's tough to see those guys go and get traded. Like I said, I have to just show up and play."
At FanFest, Castro continued to acquaint himself with the organization and his new teammates.
"I tried to know everybody first," the four-time All-Star said. "I know Mattingly a little bit. The sense I got here, I see everybody's face. Everybody looks happy. Everybody looks good. I think it's a good opportunity for me to be here."