DENVER -- The Rockies have been mentioned as a possible trade suitor for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, but early indications are there will not be a major push to land him.Realmuto, a 2018 All-Star, is under club control for the next two seasons and will be 28 -- smack in
DENVER -- The Rockies have been mentioned as a possible trade suitor for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, but early indications are there will not be a major push to land him.
Realmuto, a 2018 All-Star, is under club control for the next two seasons and will be 28 -- smack in the prime of his career -- when the 2019 season begins. He has been on the trade block since agent Jeff Berry said Realmuto won't be signed to a long-term deal, and he "definitely" will be traded. There has been no indication the Rockies made an offer.
However, a Major League source on Wednesday said while the Rockies are among the teams to "touch base" with the Marlins, as tweeted by former MLB general manager Jim Bowden, it appears other teams are stronger candidates to make a bigger offer.
Bowden's article in The Athletic suggested the Rockies were a logical destination -- and proposed the club part with pitching prospect Peter Lambert, ranked as Colorado's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and No. 4 prospect Garrett Hampson, an infielder who made his big league debut in 2018.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told MLB.com on Tuesday that his team is listening to trade offers, but the club is still open to signing Realmuto to a long-term deal.
The Rockies currently have Chris Iannetta, headed into the final year of a two-year, $8.5 million contract, and Tony Wolters, who has been with the club the last three seasons, with longtime prospect Tom Murphy also trying to crack the Majors.
In 2018, Colorado's catchers finished 12th in the National League in OPS at .657, but manager Bud Black believes catching is a defense-first position and he praised their work with a pitching staff that fueled a run to the postseason.
The Rockies are always looking to upgrade catching, however. In 2017, they landed perennial All-Star Jonathan Lucroy, who helped push the team to the postseason. They signed Iannetta when they could not reach an agreement with Lucroy during the offseason. In '18, they acquired Andrew Butera (now a free agent) in late August to add experience and defense.
Last week, when asked about the position and whether the Rockies were interested in Realmuto, GM Jeff Bridich spoke mostly about what the club has in-house.
"They were at times really good for us defensively and streaky offensively -- at times they struggled as a group," Bridich said. "We like different elements of what each guy brings. When you put together two or three catchers at a time on your 25-man roster, you're looking for what they can do as a group, a combination -- maybe even more so than any other position on the field.
"The defensive elements of what they bring are really important, and that's not lost on us. They just fit into everything else. We have an open mind to everything, but it's not like we're looking to move guys. But now is the time in the industry to listen and be open-minded, so we'll see what happens."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.