One area of the roster that the Los Angeles Dodgers figure to address one way or another this offseason is the catcher position. With Yasmani Grandal expected to depart in free agency, the club is left without a clear-cut starter for the 2019 season.
With top prospects Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith waiting and developing in the wings, the general consensus is that the Dodgers will seek a short-term stopgap to help bridge the gap to the future.
Plenty of veteran free agents fit that bill, but more intriguing options with term have been floated around on the trade market. One possible replacement came off the board last week when the Cleveland Indians dealt All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals.
Ahead of the 2018 Winter Meetings beginning, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman reiterated his excitement for Ruiz and Smith but didn’t rule out potentially acquiring a long-term catcher, via SportsNet LA:
“In terms of acute needs, figuring out what we’re going to do at catcher with Barnesy. We’ve got two kids in Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz who we really like, so even if it’s a bridge guy or potentially something longer term, we’re staying open minded to it.”
One player that the Dodgers have consistently been connected to is Miami Marlins All-Star J.T. Realmuto, who is expected to be traded for a haul of prospects this offseason. Though, the club isn’t close to acquiring the prized backstop at this time.
Los Angeles matches up well in a hypothetical trade for Realmuto, considering Miami’s need for outfielders and starting pitching. The Dodgers aren’t alone in their pursuit, however, as the Houston Astros and New York Mets are among the many additional teams to inquire.
Realmuto, 27, is eligible for salary arbitration this offseason and isn’t scheduled to become a free agent for two more years. Should the Dodgers acquire him, they would face a decision on whether to extend him when the time comes or make room for their younger prospects.