MLB Trade Rumors: Dodgers, Astros Linked to Marlins Catcher J.T. Realmuto

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Catcher J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Last winter, the Miami Marlins hung out a "for sale" sign and traded luminaries such as Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Yet they held on to catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Realmuto rewarded the Marlins with 21 home runs and an .825 OPS. Needless to say, he'll be among the hottest commodities on the trade market if the Marlins make him available.

Speaking on MLB Network Radio, Realmuto's agent, Jeff Barry, indicated his client would not sign an extension with Miami. 

"I think he will definitely be wearing a different uniform by the start of spring training," Barry said.

If that's true, where might Realmuto land?

Multiple teams could look for an upgrade behind the dish this winter, so expect the Marlins phone lines to light up if and when they dangle their All-Star backstop.

Specifically, Joel Sherman of the New York Post noted, "multiple executives [mentioned] the [Houston] Astros as an expected strong player and to a slightly lesser extent the [Los Angeles] Dodgers."

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins at bat against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on September 20, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

It makes sense. The Astros got paltry production behind the plate in 2018 from the trio of Brian McCann (.212 average), Max Stassi (.226 average) and Martin Maldonado (.231 average).

The Dodgers, meanwhile, have little catching depth beyond Austin Barnes (.240 average) with Yasmani Grandal ticketed for free agency.

Realmuto won't come cheap. The 27-year-old is under club control through 2020 and should cost any prospective buyer a top prospect plus ancillary pieces.

For win-now teams such as Los Angeles and Houston, that's a price worth paying.

After winning it all in 2017, the 'Stros were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 American League Championship Series. The Dodgers made it to the World Series for the second consecutive season but haven't hoisted a Commissioner's Trophy since 1988.

Catchers of Realmuto's caliber don't come along every year. And there are few teams with "for sale" signs as bright as Miami's.

It behooves the Dodgers, Astros and others to be aggressive.