After Yasmani Grandal left to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers in free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers were without a catcher to pair with Austin Barnes for the 2019 season.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman quickly changed that by trading for a familiar face in Russell Martin, sending two prospects to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Martin is coming off the worst offensive season of his career though, so Friedman may not envision him as the team’s starter behind the plate, continuing to pursue Miami Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
While it looked as the Dodgers and Marlins may be a perfect match, with many other teams in need of a catcher this winter finding other solutions, the division-rival San Diego Padres entered the picture on Friday.
With less than a month until the start of Spring Training, Jon Heyman of Fancred is reporting that the Marlins may be close to dealing Realmuto, and the Dodgers and Padres are the two teams they are having the most prominent discussions with:
Realmuto talks are said to be gaining momentum, with the Dodgers and Padres believed most prominent in discussions at moment. LA has the need and the young players to trade (Verdugo, etc.) and is logical. Reds, Braves, Astros among others with interest.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2019
It is no secret that the Marlins are looking to get a lot in return for the 27-year-old who still has two years of club control remaining.
Both the Dodgers and Padres have farm systems that are strong enough to make a deal, although who either team would give up is not known at this time.
Possibilities for the Dodgers include Keibert Ruiz and Alex Verdugo, both of which the Marlins have expressed interest in at times this winter.
With Martin and Barnes both being capable of starting in the Major Leagues, Friedman does not need to overpay for Realmuto. As time goes by though, the price seems to be coming down although the Padres entering the mix could complicate things for Los Angeles.