Now that discussions between the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers have intensified, it is only a matter of time before catcher J.T. Realmuto leaves South Florida.
If the events of the past 48 hours are any indication, the Miami Marlins and J.T. Realmuto are moving toward a permanent separation. Los Angeles appears to be the next destination for the 27-year-old catcher, leaving the Marlins organization with a huge hole to fill.
Try as they might, finding a catcher with all-around skills like the one-time All-Star will be hard to do. As the market for catchers quickly evaporates, the best of the bunch might be the last man standing in a trade Marlins fans talk about for the next few years.
This team has done what they could to keep Realmuto on the roster, signed him to a one-year deal with $5.9 million and tried to talk him into staying while the front office builds a team around him. That hasn’t been enough. Realmuto, like Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, has grown tired of losing and promises of how things will get better.
Looking at last season and how this ball club struggled to 63 wins, it has gotten way worse and may challenge team records in futility before it gets better. It would appear the marriage between player and team is irreconcilable. What is the Marlins loss is the gain of the Dodgers or any other team that can put the right deal together?
The Marlins front office has been patient, but now it must act with alacrity to have clarity before Spring Training begins in 19 days.
As Joe Frisaro explained on Friday, the Marlins have a player in mind to make this deal work for both the Dodgers and Realmuto.
"“As I reported a couple of days ago, the Marlins remain in ongoing discussions with the Dodgers for Realmuto. A centerpiece player that is being considered is catcher Keibert Ruiz, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 39th overall prospect in baseball,” writes Frisaro.More from Marlins NewsMiami Marlins news: Another target goneWhy didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offerMiami Marlins are pursuing Michael ConfortoMiami Marlins need to spend to win“A high priority for Miami in any Realmuto deal is getting a catcher in return, and Ruiz is a switch-hitter with tremendous upside who is close to being big league ready.”"
Miami wants other players as part of the deal, including a Major Leaguer.
When the trade is complete and Realmuto’s locker is cleaned out, it will be the last piece of a core of talented young players who were successful as individuals but could not win enough games as a team.
Now, a new core of players walks the diamond in Marlins Park, hoping to rise above the disease of losing seasons. While it may take a few more years, it will be done without the team’s current centerpiece. The team has had the last two NL MVP’s on their roster in Stanton and Yelich. It would not surprise me if Realmuto is part of the discussion next season.
It’s only fitting it will be done with wearing the uniform where his career started.