There are a lot of teams still looking for a starting catcher for the 2019 season, and perhaps the best one in baseball is currently available on the trade market in Miami Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto.
Among the teams showing interest are the Los Angeles Dodgers, although the Marlins continue to ask for Cody Bellinger in return, which is essentially a non-starter for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
Another team that could be a match for the Marlins is the Atlanta Braves, who have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. However, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Braves may be out of the Realmuto sweepstakes after the two teams were unable to come to an agreement at the Winter Meetings:
While Atlanta has continued to be linked to J.T. Realmuto rumors, a source said Saturday night the Braves exited the Winter Meetings with the understanding there will not be any further reason for them to discuss trading for the Marlins’ All-Star catcher.
The fewer suitors the Marlins have for the All-Star presumably will drive their asking price down, so this is certainly good news if the Dodgers want to get back in the running.
The New York Mets were considered the favorites by many to trade for Realmuto, but they are also reportedly showing serious interest in signing Yasmani Grandal. If the Mets do indeed move ahead with their pivot, it would take yet another potential trade parter off the board.
Friedman recently explained he is comfortable with the options on the free agent and trade markets at catcher. That certainly suggests he doesn’t intend on becoming impatient on working toward a possible trade with the Marlins.
Realmuto has two years remaining on his contract, so he could be the perfect bridge to top prospect Keibert Ruiz, who is expected to be Major-League ready in the near future.