Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly is excited at the potential of catcher J.T. Realmuto being in camp for Spring Training in February.
As Mattingly said, the team’s best player gives the organization a better chance to win games. With a young roster and a pitching staff that needs a good receiver, Realmuto does give the Marlins its best chance to improve on the 63-98 record from last season.
Any chance of getting Realmuto to agree to stay with the franchise for the long-term is the best outcome the organization can hope for.
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"“If anything, as a guest on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show on Friday morning, Mattingly hinted the Marlins are prepared to enter Spring Training with their All-Star catcher still on the roster,” writes Joe Frisaro."
When Realmuto is traded (yes, it will eventually happen), a huge void will be left within the team’s clubhouse and a big hole in the lineup will most likely not be filled with the same type of skill set the 27-year-old possesses.
In other words, you cannot replace someone of Realmuto’s talent so easily.
"“For me, I’m ecstatic right now, because I feel like we’re walking into camp with J.T. again,” Mattingly said during his phone interview."
As of now, there are plenty of offers for Realmuto’s services, but the Marlins have set the bar so high, finding the right deal might take some time, potentially deep into the 2019 season. The Dodgers, Astros, Rays, Reds, and Padres all appear to be contenders with no one team distinguishing itself as the frontrunner.
It’s anyone’s guess how this all plays out down in South Florida.
"“I know you have to do what you have to do to further your organization,” Mattingly said on Hot Stove. “But as a manager, I’m loving this guy, feeling like he’s going to be back in camp with us because he’s everything you want.”"
The Marlins went to the Baseball Winter Meetings letting all 29 MLB teams know up front what it would take to get Realmuto. Some teams have backed off because of the high demands. The organization has set the bar so high because the team was in a no-win situation in the trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees last season.
Mattingly could not stop saying great things about him.
"“When you say you want to build something around a guy, this is a guy we’d love to do it around,” added Mattingly. “Obviously, J.T., or his agent, made what he thinks public knowledge, but I think, just as a manager, you love this guy on your club.”"