Washington Nationals: Previewing a potential J.T. Realmuto trade

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MIAMI, FL - JUNE 20: J.T. Realmuto
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 20: J.T. Realmuto /
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The Washington Nationals are reportedly interested in acquiring catcher J.T. Realmuto. What might a potential trade look like?

It’s no secret that the Washington Nationals are in need of a catcher. As things currently stand, Matt Wieters will serve as the primary catcher, with Pedro Severino or Raudy Read backing him up. 2018 appears to be a fateful season for the Nats, so this is certainly a less than ideal scenario.

The Nats have reportedly been interested in acquiring a catcher all off-season, with J.T. Realmuto as their main target, but a potential trade has seemed dismal at times. With no other eye-popping catchers available, the Nats have kept tabs on Realmuto throughout the winter.

Now, it appears that the Marlins may be willing to trade Realmuto after all. They recently traded Christian Yelich, signaling that their fire sale is not quite finished, and Realmuto could be the next to go.

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Among the teams interested in the 26-year-old backstop, the Nats are reportedly the most heavily engaged. This would make sense, especially considering the Nats’ dire need for a catcher and the gravity of the 2018 season.

So what might a potential trade look like? Well, the Nats and Marlins currently have very different ideas. Unsurprisingly, the Marlins are interested in the Nats’ top two prospects, Victor Robles and Juan Soto.

Unfortunately for Derek Jeter and company, Mike Rizzo has been reluctant to part with the two in the past. Robles could have brought Chris Sale to D.C. last winter, but the Nats decided to hold onto him instead. When Robles finally debuted in September, it quickly became obvious why the Nats were unwilling to trade him.

The Nats, on the other hand, would prefer to give up a prospect package headlined by Carter Kieboom and/or Erick Fedde, their third- and fourth-ranked prospects, respectively.

Kieboom, a 20-year-old shortstop, was recently rated 90th in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects. However, there may not be much of a role for him moving forward, as he is blocked by young infielders, such as Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon.

Fedde is not quite as expendable, due to the Nats’ lackluster pitching depth, but would be worth including in a Realmuto trade. He is not projected to be an ace, but could serve as a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Kieboom and Fedde are tremendous prospects, and should be enough to pry Realmuto away from Miami, but the Nats should not be too stubborn if that is not the case. Robles is rightfully off limits, but Soto is expendable due to the Nats’ plethora of outfielders.

Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Michael Taylor, and Brian Goodwin highlight the Nats’ major league-ready outfielders, with Robles, Soto, Andrew Stevenson, Rafael Bautista, and Daniel Johnson in the minors. All but Harper are under team control for at least the next three seasons.

Clearly, the Nats are set in the outfield for years to come. However, their catching corps is dreadful, with few promising catchers in the farm system. Acquiring Realmuto, who has three years of team control remaining, would be a terrific long-term investment.

2018 appears to be a fateful season for the Nats, and they should be all-in to finally win it all. Although trading any combination of Soto, Kieboom, or Fedde would be detrimental to the farm system, it would bring in a long-term fix behind the dish.

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If the Nats want to finally exorcise their postseason demons, they should strongly consider trading for Realmuto.

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