The Washington Nationals have reportedly been interested in J.T. Realmuto throughout the entire off-season. However, their pursuit is now intensifying.
As things currently stand, the Washington Nationals are one of the best teams in the league and are all but guaranteed to make the postseason. However, they have a few areas for improvement.
One of the Nats’ most notable weaknesses is the catching position. Matt Wieters and Jose Lobaton combined to form a horrific tandem behind the plate last year, which was possibly responsible for the Nats’ ultimate demise. Lobaton has since signed with the New York Mets, but Wieters will return in 2018.
The Nats have a couple in-house candidates to replace Lobaton, but it is not in Mike Rizzo’s nature to not at least check in on big-name upgrades. This has been especially evident this off-season, as we have heard the Nats connected to J.T. Realmuto throughout the winter.
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The Nats have had various levels of interest in Realmuto all off-season, but their pursuit has reportedly intensified in the last day or so. According to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio, the Nats are the team that is most heavily engaged in talks on Realmuto.
Miami has been reluctant to part with their final two assets, Realmuto and Christian Yelich, but they traded Yelich to Milwaukee on Thursday night. Now that Yelich has been traded, perhaps Realmuto is next to go. If that is the case, the Nats should be all over the Miami backstop.
If the Nats are able to pry Realmuto away from Miami, he could prove to be an enormous asset for years to come. At 26 years old, he is still relatively young and has three years of team control remaining. He is also entering his first arbitration-eligible season, so he will come relatively cheap, at least from a financial standpoint.
While Realmuto would be a fantastic addition, he would not come free. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Marlins are asking for Victor Robles in trade talks. The Nats have been extremely reluctant to part with Robles, and rightfully so.
If the Nats are unwilling to part with Robles, Juan Soto could be a possible replacement. Soto, a 19-year-old outfielder, is ranked slightly lower than Robles, but oozes with potential. He is currently the Nats’ second-ranked prospect, and appeared at 56 on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list.
Soto would not be enough to pry Realmuto away on his own, but he would serve as an excellent centerpiece. Perhaps the Nats could also include one of their young catchers, Pedro Severino or Raudy Read, to replace Realmuto in Miami.
A Realmuto trade would be very costly, but could be worth it. 2018 is a fateful season for the Nats, and they should be all-in to finally win it all. Acquiring Realmuto would cost several prospects, but it could possibly bring a parade to South Capitol Street.