The Miami Marlins have announced they will offer All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto a contract extension this offseason.
The Miami Marlins have already shown their hand in what may become a slow-played game of poker with the team’s lone All-Star, catcher J.T. Realmuto. The team hopes to have a resolution to their biggest question facing this organization. Realmuto was the heart and soul of this franchise in 2018.
The hope is both sides can work out a deal that will keep the 27-year-old in Miami for the foreseeable future and possibly as a Marlin for life.
"“It’s no secret, I think J.T. knows how we feel about him,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said via MLB.com. “He had a tremendous season, an All-Star season. It’s great to see his talent finally being recognized throughout the industry. As I’ve I said consistently, we want him to be a part of what we’re doing in the long term.”"
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Per spotrac.com, Realmuto signed a 1-year, $2.9 million contract with the Marlins, including $2.9 million guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $2.9 million. He is eligible for salary arbitration once again this year and could command a huge payday on the open market.
Realmuto’s status with the organization is also one of the many headlines to follow in the Majors as he would surely command interest from several teams in need of a solid backstop and bat in the middle of the lineup.
Derek Jeter, the team’s owner, and CEO stated earlier this season he hopes to work out a deal to keep his best player in the fold during his prime, possibly with him retire with the organization that originally drafted him. Of course, there is a lot to be done with a new deal and adding salary to the payrolls has been something the former Yankees great has looked to avoid over the course of the past year.
The Marlins remain optimistic a deal can get done, as long as Realmuto wants to remain in South Florida and will continue to buy into the plans for this team’s future.
He has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility and can become a free agent after the 2020 season.
"“Realmuto has emerged as one of the best catchers in baseball. According to advanced metrics, he is among the most athletic at the position in the Majors,” Joe Frisaro wrote. “In 125 games, Realmuto had a slash line of .277/.340/.484 with career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (74). His .825 OPS also is a career best.”"
Right now, there is no other player on the team’s roster or in the minor league system to replace Realmuto. The team may have to seek a trade, bringing in a veteran or rising star.
The Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks were said to be interested before this season in acquiring him.
The New York Yankees were linked to him as a possible trade involving Gary Sanchez during the season. There are a handful of other MLB teams that could be in the market for his services as well.