Marlins Rumors: Where the Tampa Bay Rays stand with trade talks

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 20: A general view of a baseball during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 20, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 20: A general view of a baseball during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 20, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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Could an in-state trade send Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto to Tampa Bay and strengthen the Rays defense and batting order?

What would it take to bring Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto to Tampa Bay? Is there a chance the cross-state rival will come out as the winner in the sweepstakes to land the All-Star catcher? Chances might be better than some think.

I still believe when the dust clears and the Marlins finally get a package offer they find worthy, the Los Angeles Dodgers will emerge as the team that has Realmuto, 27, in their lineup come Opening Day.

On Jan. 10, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported there were six teams still working the phones and holding the Marlins attention. The Rays would seem like a longshot compared to the heavy hitters, Atlanta , Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cincinnati and San Diego are also part of this six-pack, but like Tampa Bay don’t have the same kind of amunition to make a big splash with prospects or MLB talent.

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"“According to a source, the Braves, Dodgers, Astros, Padres, Rays and Reds are considered the front-runners to acquire Realmuto. As it’s been all offseason, the Marlins’ asking price remains extremely high,” Frisaro wrote."

The Rays minor league system isn’t barren. Talk lately when discussing the Rays and Miami has centered around Jesus Sanchez, yet another outfield prospect.

The Marlins have asked for outfield prospects from the majority of teams they have spoken to. Despite the team’s growth in the outfield at all levels of their farm system, the thought it players develop faster than others.

Right now, Victor Mesa and Monte Harrison are the franchise’s top rated prospects. Mesa, the top-rated international prospect, may take another year or two to compete for an outfield slot.

Harrison, who is expected to start the year at Triple-A New Orleans, could be on the team’s roster at some point this coming season.

Sanchez is the Rays No. 4 minor league prospect and is a developing player Miami’s front office could take its time with as he played Single-A and Double-A ball last season.

Marlins eye Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz in trade deal. dark. Next

"Per his scouting report, “Sanchez’s offensive ceiling offers reason for excitement, as he’s already shown that he can hit for average and apply his power during games at a young age. He has a fluid swing with an innate ability to impact the baseball from the left side of the plate, with an advanced approach and knack for hitting the ball in the air that belie his age.”"

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