With a bullish trade market and the Miami Marlins not moving from their trade demands, the reality of keeping catcher J.T. Realmuto on the roster in 2019 has become stronger by the day.
I have been saying this for some time, as those of you who read Marlin Maniac know, so when I write that the Marlins may keep catcher J.T. Realmuto on the roster at the beginning of the 2019 MLB season, please know the trade market may force that possibility.
Would it be such a bad thing to keep the best and most marketable player on the team’s roster heading into the second season of a rebuilding project that is expected to take at least another two years? Would Realmuto have a change of heart if this franchise were to shock the baseball world and win 80 games in 2019?
With that, would Realmuto, a first-time All-Star this past season, see the blueprint Derek Jeter spoke of and preached at this time last year had some merit? One can only hope winning changes everything instead of fixing everything. Realmuto is the key to a successful Marlins season.
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It does not mean he has to hit 30 home runs or hit .320. It means he is the chosen leader on the field and in the club house. He is the steadying mentor of a young pitchign staff and right now, he is the team’s major power source. That’s a lot to ask from one person, but that’s what this organization as done.
If anything, Realmuto should see it as an honor. With it comes great responsibility.
I’m not the only one who thinks this might happen, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro concurs in his “Inbox” feature.
"“With less than six weeks to go until pitchers and catchers begin workouts in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 13, each passing day increases the chances the All-Star catcher is a Marlin when Spring Training begins,” he writes."
Fans asked Frisaro what the reality was of keeping Realmuto on the roster – for now – and how would the Marlins star react to not being traded from South Florida as he and his agent had hoped. Fans see the value in keeping their 27-year-old star on the roster, if only until the MLB Trade Deadline.
"“I’ve tried to be consistent in my reporting since October that retaining Realmuto remains an option for the Marlins,” Frisaro added. “That’s not to say a club won’t step up and offer the Marlins a package they can’t resist before Spring Training begins. As of now, Miami has not lowered its demands.”"
So far, that has been a failed attempt by any team making the call to Jeter or Michael Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations. Now, with six weeks away from the start of camp in Jupiter, Florida, the Marlins must fish or cut bait on trying to make a deal – whether or not Realmuto is on board.
If the Marlins were to make a deal with the teams believed to still be in the running for Realmuto’s services, it would mean giving up a top minor league prospect and/or an MLB player the front office has contractual control over. It’s unlikely a team will cave on the franchise’s demands. It appears Realmuto will walk into Spring Training, put on one of those new Marlins uniforms and get to work with the rest of his teammates.
But then again, a team could jump in and make the Marlins front office an offer it cannot refuse.