The trade that the Miami Marlins should've made

Austin Riley
Austin Riley / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Miami Marlins traded C J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies for C Jorge Alfaro and Minor League pitchers Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart. It didn't quite work out to say the least. Realmuto didn't want to stay with The Fish and the team wasn't willing to give him an extension that he was worth. As a result of all of that, Realmuto was traded for Philly's top prospect (Sixto) and a couple other useful players. It's a miracle this wasn't the worst trade in Miami Marlins history. There was a better option...

The Miami Marlins passed up on a better trade for J.T. Realmuto.

Let's get something out of the way first, I wish that the Miami Marlins never traded J.T. Realmuto in the first place. I wish that he was extended and was still our catcher. Just look at how catcher has been a issue for us since. The return proved to be abysmal. Will Stewart is still in the Minors and not producing much (4.26 career Minor League ERA). Jorge Alfaro? He batted .252/.298/.386 in 253 games and 819 AB (2019-2021) before The Fish moved on. Sixto Sanchez pitched well in 2020, producing a 3.46 ERA/3.50 FIP with 7.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 7 games and 49.0 innings. Unfortunately, he hasn't been healthy or able to pitch since then.

Sixto is still just 24 and there's still a chance that he might become a useful player, but health has become a massive issue for him. He's supposed to be healthy this upcoming season... No one can deny how great Realmuto has been for the Philadelphia Phillies however, batting .271/.338/.473 with
75 home runs and 275 RBI in 465 games and 1691 AB over 2019-2022. He was worth 15.8 WAR for them so far. The Miami Marlins received 1.7 WAR COMBINED from the players that were received in return.

There was another option... The Atlanta Braves were interested in Realmuto too and offered Minor League 3B Austin Riley and "not much else" in return. Not much else was needed. Riley debuted for Atlanta in 2019 with a .226/.279/.471 batting line along with 18 home runs and 49 RBI in 80 games and 274 AB. In 2019, he batted .239/.301/.415 with 8 home runs and 27 RBI in 51 games and 188 AB. Then came 2021...

In 2021, Austin Riley batted .303/.367/.531 with 33 home runs and 107 RBI in 160 games and 590 AB. He finished seventh in NL MVP voting. In 2022, he batted .273/.349/.528 with 38 home runs and 93 RBI in 159 games and 615 AB. He finished sixth in NL MVP voting. He was worth 12.1 WAR for the team so far.

There's no way of knowing which top prospects will work out and which ones will not... Imagine though if the Miami Marlins chose Atlanta's package instead and had Aaustin Riley as our third baseman?!

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