The Los Angeles Dodgers are searching for a starting catcher after Yasmani Grandal rejected their qualifying offer and opted for free agency. While it remains possible Grandal re-signs, it’s not considered a likely scenario.
The best name that could potentially be available is J.T. Realmuto of the Miami Marlins, although it would take a trade for the Dodgers as he is not a free agent but under team control for two more seasons.
Miami does appearing to be shopping him though, and he has been linked to the Dodgers as much as any other team in recent weeks.
If Los Angeles want to acquire him it will certainly come at a heavy price considering Realmuto is coming off a career year, excels on both sides of the ball and is just 27 years of age.
David Vasseigh reported on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio that the Dodgers would need to center a trade offer around Cody Bellinger and include either Yasiel Puig or Alex Verdugo to complete a deal for Realmuto:
“From what I’ve been told by people in Miami, if the Dodgers were trying to get Realmuto, they would have to start with Cody Bellinger, and I’m not sure that would happen (from the Dodgers’ perspective). It would take one of those guys (Puig or Verdugo) and Cody Bellinger to get a conversation started.”
It is hard to see the Dodgers giving up Bellinger, even though he is coming off a bit of a down season. Bellinger already has a unanimous National League Rookie of the Year Award in his trophy case after hitting an NL rookie record 39 home runs in 2017, and at 23 years old, he has already played in two World Series.
Bellinger also provides a ton of defensive versatility given his ability to play both first base and all three outfield positions at a Gold Glove-caliber level.
The Dodgers do have plenty of outfield depth, which includes both Puig and Verdugo, so perhaps one of them would be expendable to get an All-Star like Realmuto behind the plate.
With two catching prospects in Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz that are close to being Major League ready though, the Dodgers may instead look for a veteran on a one-year deal off the free agent market to help bridge the gap instead of giving up significant assets for Realmuto.