MIAMI -- All offseason, the Marlins have held firm on their trade demands for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, and their position hasn't changed with Spring Training opening in a little more than three weeks.Miami is asking for a lot in return -- basically a top prospect and more -- for
MIAMI -- All offseason, the Marlins have held firm on their trade demands for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, and their position hasn't changed with Spring Training opening in a little more than three weeks.
Miami is asking for a lot in return -- basically a top prospect and more -- for arguably the best catcher in the game. Even with pitchers and catchers reporting on Feb. 13, there is still plenty of time to work out a deal.
The Marlins saw that happen a year ago.
On Jan. 25, 2018, the Marlins pulled off a major trade, sending Christian Yelich to the Brewers for Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz and Jordan Yamamoto.
There are at least five teams -- the Rays, Padres, Reds, Braves and Astros -- showing various levels of interest.
MLB.com explores the Marlins' options regarding their best player.
Where things stand
Because Realmuto has two more seasons remaining in arbitration, the Marlins don't have an urgency to make a trade before Spring Training opens. They are prepared to carry him into camp and see how things play out.
Realmuto avoided arbitration earlier this month by signing for $5.9 million for 2019. That's an attractive figure for a potential trade partner, and it also makes him affordable to Miami should no trade be worked out.
Harper, Machado effect
The free-agent market actually appears to be impacting where Realmuto might wind up. More specifically, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have the entire industry at a standstill. The Marlins are not in on either player, but some clubs they have talked to about Realmuto this offseason -- like the Dodgers and Phillies -- have been linked to Harper and/or Machado.
Also, where Harper or Machado wind up will have the rest of the teams revisiting their available options.
Handicapping a true frontrunner is difficult because the Marlins have spoken to so many clubs about Realmuto. There are indications that, with at least some clubs, there are pieces of a trade already in place, but the complete deal isn't. The clubs that are considered the most likely suitors are the Rays, Padres, Reds, Astros and Braves. The Dodgers' recent acquisition of Russell Martin from the Blue Jays makes them more of an outsider, but they still could jump back into the picture.
Could Realmuto stay?
If their demands are not met, the Marlins haven't ruled out keeping Realmuto. The general sense is it won't get to that point, but it certainly is possible Miami can hold on to Realmuto and prepare for 2019 like business as usual.
Should the Marlins do that, a trade still could be made before Opening Day or at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.