By Theo DeRosa, Sports Talk Philly staff
MLB Network's Jon Morosi added considerable intrigue Tuesday to the Philadelphia Phillies' pursuit of an offseason upgrade at the catcher position, confirming that the Phillies are involved in trade talks for Miami Marlins star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Realmuto, 27, is the last man standing in Miami after last season's trades of outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. He has been the subject of trade rumors for months, but ended up spending his whole 2018 season in South Beach.
Realmuto has increased his OPS for four straight years after joining the league in 2014, posting a .277/.340/.484 triple-slash line in 2018 with the scuffling Marlins. He hit 21 home runs, drove in 74 runs and was named to the National League All-Star team. Realmuto saw his stolen base total drop from a career-high 12 in 2016 to just three, but he does possess more speed than most catchers.
The Phillies got a .257/.331/.399 batting line at the catcher position from Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp and Wilson Ramos in 2018. Unlikely to re-sign Ramos after his acquisition from Tampa Bay, the Phillies will return Alfaro and Knapp and seek a better backup. With Realmuto, Alfaro could be part of the return to Miami or be shunted into a backup role.
Realmuto is eligible for his second year of arbitration this winter after making $2.9 million during the 2018 season. He will be a free agent after the 2020 season. It would likely take more than Alfaro to acquire the star catcher from Miami.
The New York Mets and New York Yankees were involved in Realmuto rumors as recently as Monday night, when whispers of a three-team deal involving Noah Syndergaard flooded Twitter. Morosi noted Tuesday that there's not much momentum toward a three-team deal, but that the Mets would like to acquire Realmuto directly.
Jon Heyman of Fancred/MLB Network initially noted Philadelphia's interest in Realmuto, listing the Phillies, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves as the three teams "in" on Realmuto on Monday.