Washington Nationals: Don’t give up hope on J.T. Realmuto dream yet
By Blake Finney
So far, the Washington Nationals have tried and failed, to acquire J.T. Realmuto. But they shouldn’t give up hope of adding the Miami Marlins backstop.
The Washington Nationals have been trying to acquire Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto for the best part of 12 months now. While that pursuit has been in vain up until this point, the front office shouldn’t give up just yet.
The fit between the two is about as perfect as it can get. The Nationals are still in desperate need of a catcher after they ranked fourth last in the majors, and second last in the National League in wRC+ from their catchers at 64. While they did do slightly better defensively as a collective group, their combined fWAR was just 0.5 on the season.
Enter, J.T. Realmuto. The 26-year-old recorded a 126 wRC+ and a 4.8 fWAR all by himself, and clearly would be a huge upgrade. a partnership with Spencer Kieboom, who impressed late on in the season, would have the Nats set up well at the position.
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It was reported that the Mike Rizzo made another push for Realmuto this summer before the trade deadline, but evidently, no deal was made.
So that begs the question, what could change between then and this offseason that could make a deal possible?
Well, with only two years remaining on his current deal, the Marlins are going to try and make a push to extend him this winter. Should those talks come up empty, then the team may be willing to accept a lower price than they were over the summer in order to still get a sizeable haul before his contract year.
It’s entirely possible that the catcher has no interest in sticking around throughout the process of the Marlins’ wholesale rebuild. Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported last offseason that Realmuto actually requested a trade from the team after they traded away Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna
It’s that time again where we try and decipher what sort of trade package it would take to get Realmuto. While it would be foolish to completely rule out Victor Robles in such a trade, if Bryce Harper leaves in free agency, there’s no way the team can afford to deal him.
That leaves Carter Kieboom as the centerpiece to a deal. His stock has continued to rise at an incredible rate in 2018. So much so that he now has a ranking inside the FanGraphs top 10 prospects in all of baseball.
It’s obviously going to take more than just Kieboom to get Realmuto, but looking back at the trades they made last offseason, it may not be as much as you think.
Ozuna, who had two years of arbitration left on his deal netted Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, and two lesser prospects. Five years of control on soon-to-be NL MVP Christian Yelich got them Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz, and Jordan Yamamoto.
So with the positional premium on Realmuto making him more valuable than Ozuna, but less valuable than the control of the Yelich, expect a package somewhere between the two. It’s reasonable to think that a package of Carter Kieboom, Seth Romero, Daniel Johnson, and Raudy Read could get a deal done.
If a deal is ever likely to happen between the Washington Nationals and the Marlins, the time will be this winter. J.T. Realmuto is such a perfect fit that if the extension talks go sideways, the Nats should be straight on the phone.