Will changes made to the Miami Marlins pitching staff have a say in whether catcher J.T. Realmuto signs a new deal with the organization?
The Miami Marlins have already stated they plan to offer All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto a new contract over the offseason. Whether the two sides can come to an agreement is still something we all must wait and see. There has been plenty of talk by the front office about keeping the team’s best player around for a while, but will the franchise have to make changes to the pitching staff to give the 27-year-old more incentive to put his name on the dotted line?
I have been saving this story, mainly because I wanted to see how the offseason played out. Which Marlins players would receive a tender in arbitration? Which veterans may move to free up more money and bring in more young talent? All the while, Realmuto’s future with the organization still remains in limbo.
It shouldn’t even be a thought as the Marlins have done enough to alienate the fan base straight down I-95 into South Beach. But if you look at the bigger picture, does the current state of the pitching staff, most notably the bullpen, impact what Realmuto does this offseason?
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Realistically, it might.
"“The fact that Realmuto ultimately stayed in South Beach come deadline time shocked many a national pundit,” wrote Sean Millerick of Call to the Pen. “The only outcomes discussed heading into July were that the Marlins would either lower their asking price or that some club would ultimately cave into Miami’s demands. Realmuto’s staying put was scarcely discussed at all.”"
Realmuto was playing on a one-year deal that paid him $2.9 million this past season. This is the second year of arbitration he is eligible for. There is still a chance the Marlins will get a trade offer they cannot refuse. It is also possible the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks – two teams that inquired about his services before the season and before the trade deadline – could once again make a call to Marlins Park before February.
Given that the team traded away one of its relievers this past week – Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals – for international pool money, is a sign this bullpen could look different but better in 2019.
The Marlins do not appear to be changing their direction this offseason. Youth will still be served. If anything, this roster may get younger if veteran pitcher Dan Straily is traded away. Realmuto has proven to be a mentor to the young pitching staff and is considered one of the best at his position.
It makes sense to keep him around for the foreseeable future. The organization must decide, however, if they can entice him with a better bullpen as well as a better deal for his future. Both remain to be seen.