It was highly anticipated that the Manny Machado and Bryce Harper sweepstakes would cause the most drama this offseason. While that still may be the case, sweepstakes for another player have turned into something you wish you could watch on reality television.
Enter J.T. Realmuto, a 27-year-old catcher for the Miami Marlins. By many, he’s considered the best catcher in all of baseball. In 2018, he led all catchers with a 4.3 WAR. He hit .277, and had 21 home runs to go along with 74 runs batted in.
The Marlins know he’s the best catcher in baseball, and it’s going to take the deal of a lifetime to acquire him.
With the best catcher in baseball available, the Dodgers seem like the perfect fit, right? After all, their former catcher Yasmani Grandal is a free-agent, and it’s likely LA doesn’t want to make Austin Barnes their starting catcher moving forward.
Miami has even come out and said they don’t want to trade Realmuto within their division. Advantage Dodgers, right?
You would think by now a deal would have been pulled off. However, Miami has a price set, and it appears they have no intentions of shying away from it.
As expected, LA has shown interest in Realmuto. As expected, the Marlins countered with a high-demand. Some highly-touted prospects were mentioned in the deal, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The real shock came when Miami also wanted LA to include Cody Bellinger.
Sure, getting the best player at a position is great, but it is nowhere worth the cost of multiple top tier prospects AND one of the brightest young players in baseball.
To no surprise, the Dodgers didn’t budge.
With the Mets, whom many expected to be the favorite to land Realmuto likely out of the sweepstakes, the Dodgers yet again seem to be the clear-cut favorites. There’s no doubt LA has the firepower to make a deal happen.
The question, though — is it worth it?
Yes, as I mentioned, LA would be acquiring the best catcher in all of baseball. But is it worth the cost?
You would likely be parting ways with Alex Verdugo, LA’s No. 1 prospect. As well, they’d likely be departing with Keibert Ruiz, LA’s No. 2 prospect, and highly-valued catching prospect of the future. On top of that, they’d likely throw in an outfielder. I highly doubt they include Bellinger, so let’s just say it’s Yasiel Puig.
That is way too much.
If the Dodgers don’t budge, there are still some options available in free-agency. With Ruiz likely a year away, LA would only need to look for a one-year contract.
Off the top, the easiest option would to bring back Grandal for a year. Yes, he had a rough end to the season, but there’s no question that he’s still overall one of the better offensive catchers in the game.
He had a 3.3 WAR last season to go along with 24 home runs, some of the highest for catchers in the MLB. At the moment, he’s clearly the best catcher remaining.
Another option would be Martín Maldonado. Offensively, he’s very limited. He only hit nine home runs last year, and hit .225 with an OPS of only .627. However, he’s arguably the best defensive catcher in baseball.
He was a Gold Glove finalist in 2018, and took home the honors in 2017. Though LA would be taking a hit on the offensive side of the position, they’d massively be upgrading on the defensive side.
These are really the two best options for LA in the free-agent market. Some other notable names include Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Wieters and Nick Hundley.
With the catcher market getting slimmer by the day, the Dodgers need to make a decision, and they need to make one quickly. They have the assets to pull off the move. The question is, do they really need to do it?
Should the Dodgers trade for J.T. Realmuto?
This poll is closed