Major League Baseball hot stove: Phillies acquire J.T. Realmuto from Marlins

Elena Summers
February 11, 2019

Analysis: I think that the Marlins hands were tied and Realmuto had to be dealt and getting Sixto Sanchez is the key. "I would hope that the demonstration would be appealing to potential free agents".

The move is a bit surprising as it was assumed other Major League Baseball teams had maneuvered into position to make a deal, with the Dodgers, Padres, Reds, Rays, and Braves making their strongest offers in the past few days.

Jorge Alfaro-25 years old, not arbitration eligible until 2021, and not projected to hit free agency until 2024-had a successful season last year for the Phillies. The Marlins, well, they're the laughingstock of baseball, years away from relevance.

After months of speculation over what they'd do, the Marlins traded Realmuto on Thursday to the Philadelphia Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro, two pitching prospects and $250,000 in global signing bonus pool allocation. They effectively replaced Realmuto with a Major League talent at catcher, acquired a top pitching prospect, added some depth, and perhaps most importantly, gave themselves more financial flexibility to chase global talent. A rebuilding project for the perennial also-rans will probably continue for several years under CEO Derek Jeter, whose group bought the franchise after the 2017 season.

Meanwhile, both Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar showcase appetizing numbers under the age column while already representing superior options at the plate (in favor of J.T. Realmuto). Still, the team is confident he would be ready for spring training.

He was by far the team's most valuable asset and the most marketable face.

What happens now is the Marlins head to Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida minus one of their leaders and the need for someone else to assume the role of power hitter/clutch performer.

The Marlins finished last in the NL East previous year with a 63-98 record. In 260 career Marlins home games, Realmuto slashed just.245/.294/.384 with 55 doubles, four triples, 22 home runs, 106 RBI and 60 walks.

From the Dodgers, Miami wanted first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger. While he has not pitched above the High-A minors, the Dominican right-hander is just 20. He hit.262 with 10 homers in his first full major league season previous year and showed a strong arm, but had 11 errors and 10 passed balls.

"Sanchez is the most well-regarded prospect in the deal, a 6-foot right-hander whose fastball sits in the high 90s and tops out over 100 miles per hour", Passan explained. The right-hander authored a 2.51 ERA and 2.66 FIP over eight starts with High-A Clearwater previous year.

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