Now that there appears to be only four teams left in the sweepstakes to land Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, will the Atlanta Braves withdraw from the competition?
The Atlanta Braves were one of the first teams to make it common knowledge of their desire to land Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Now, with the number of teams reduced to four, does the National League East rival take themselves out of the running to grab a power hitting catcher to help a young pitching staff?
At least one publication, atlallday.com, and writer Kit Anderson believes the NL East champion should back away now.
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to move toward making a move for the 27-year-old.
"“J.T. Realmuto and the Atlanta Braves have been tied together in contradicting rumors for the majority of the off-season. At times it appeared Atlanta was interested and others it appeared to simply be a product of a slow rumor mill.” Anderson writes.“Realmuto is a good catcher but not worth spending important prospect capital on when the Braves have answers at the position. With two catchers already on the roster acquiring Realmuto would mean parting with one of their current catchers.”"
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Either Brian McCann was brought in to provide a veteran backstop to go along with Tyler Flowers. What the Braves can offer in terms of prospects might rival the Dodgers, but the price may still be too high for Atlanta’s front office to make a deal with the Marlins.
The Dodgers have apparently moved to the front of the line in its pursuit of Realmuto as a deal could be done before teams open camp in Spring Training. Marlins pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Florida on Feb. 13. I wrote about this on Marlin Maniac earlier today.
"“Multiple sources have confirmed the trade talk between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher J.T. Realmuto continues to pick up steam as both teams prepare for Spring Training in less than two weeks.“The news of a deal is not imminent, but the talk between the two front offices has made progress over the last couple of days, with the team zoning in one prospect Keibert Ruiz and potentially other players involved.”"
Anderson’s reason for staying away from a deal for Realmuto is based on short term succes and long term sustainability. The Braves have one of the best farm systems in the Majors. Giving up future prospects for winning now may not be what is best for the Braves. But in reality, a move like that helps Miami down the road.
The Marlins are still developing a strong minor league system that is exponentially better than just a year ago.
"“Realmuto isn’t the answer for Atlanta, the interest in him is simply a byproduct of a slow off-season. Trading for him would be a mistake that wouldn’t make the Braves better long term,” Anderson wrote."