J.T. Realmuto is again in the MLB Trade Rumors and the Los Angeles Dodgers could naturally become a potential candidate for the all-star catcher.
Most of the MLB trade rumors over the last calendar year have surrounded the Miami Marlins. Despite all of the MLB trade rumors over that span, the Marlins always held onto catcher J.T. Realmuto.
This is a team that dealt National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, likely 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich and prolific power-hitter Marcell Ozuna. Realmuto stuck out a year in Miami, earning an all-star appearance in the process, as the team hoped to sign him to an extension.
It is understandable why the Marlins would want to build around Realmuto. Realmuto is just 27 years old and is already one of the best catchers in the league. In 2017, Realmuto hit .277 with 21 home runs and 74 at-bats.
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Realmuto leads all catchers in WAR since 2016 with a 12.3 WAR, per FanGraphs. Buster Posey is the only other catcher in the league in double-digits in that time frame with a 10.0 WAR.
Realmuto is the best of both worlds. He is a great offensive catcher without being a defensive sacrifice behind the plate. In a free agent class that is not that great this winter, Realmuto is one of the most valuable trade chips.
The problem for the Marlins is that Realmuto’s agent said that the star catcher is not interested in signing a long-term deal and wants out of Miami. It will be the same song and dance as the Marlins dealt with last winter.
One of the free agent catchers this winter is Yasmani Grandal, who is coming off of one fo the worst Postseasons in recent memory. With Austin Barnes not being a reliable option offensively, many Dodger fans are questioning what the team is going to do at the catcher position.
Realistically, it would be best for both parties for Grandal to either agree to the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ qualifying offer or to sign one-year deal. The Dodgers need a catcher for one more season and Grandal won’t get the market value he anticipated.
However, if Grandal does find a long contract that suits his needs, the Dodgers could be without a reliable everyday starting catcher next season. This has naturally led to Realmuto becoming a target, at least as far as the fanbase is concerned.
Trading for Realmuto would be a mistake. As good as he is, the Los Angeles Dodgers simply do not need him.
Realmuto is under contract for two more seasons and would be a great piece to add to a contending team. However, after 2019, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a catcher that will ready to be the everyday guy in Keibert Ruiz.
Ruiz has a ton of potential, is the Dodgers’ best prospect that has not seen big league time and has a ceiling that could surpass Realmuto’s current value. Sure, it will take time, but blocking Ruiz only hurts his progression.
Plus, with the market for Realmuto likely being an extensive one, the Dodgers would likely have to part ways with an elite catching prospect like Ruiz or Will Smith. Yes, the farm system could take a hit, but I would much rather trade Smith for an elite reliever or all-star second baseman rather than a catcher when Ruiz is right around the corner.
As intriguing as the MLB trade rumors might be around J.T. Realmuto, it simply does not make sense for the Dodgers to make that move.