The Philadelphia Phillies have added an All-Star. On Thursday, the club announced they have traded catcher Jorge Alfaro, top prospect RHP Sixto Sanchez, LHP Will Stewart and international slot money to the Miami Marlins in exchange for catcher J.T. Realmuto, who earned his first All-Star and Silver Slugger Award honors this past season. The international slot money is "likely in the neighborhood" of $250,000, according to The Athletic.
#Phillies wanted to do Realmuto deal without touching their 4 best position prospects: Bohm, Haseley, Moniak, Luis Garcia and succeeded. Big key for them.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 7, 2019
The Phillies have had interest in Realmuto reportedly since last July; rumors resurfaced in early December, however the club was considered a "longshot" to acquire him. The Phillies "checked in" on Realmuto earlier this week, and once they included Alfaro and Sanchez in the package, the trade became "almost inevitable," according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
As 6abc's Jeff Skversky notes, the trade between the Phillies and Marlins "heated up" on Sunday after General Manager Matt Klentak sent a text. "“I think J.T. Realmuto is the best catcher is baseball, so the upgrade is significant," Klentak said. "We think [Alfaro] has a bright future ahead of him ... it’s about us getting better.”
J.T. Realmuto highlight video pic.twitter.com/c5MEsDXMAv— 2008 Phillies (@2008Philz) February 7, 2019
Realmuto, 27, earned his first All-Star nod and Silver Slugger Award this past season, after slashing .277/.340/.484 with 30 doubles, 21 home runs and 74 RBI spanning 125 games and 531 plate appearances. Realmuto committed just seven errors through 951 innings and 879 chances behind the plate, while also fielding a perfect 78 innings at first base.
Alfaro, 25, was part of the multi-player July 2015 trade that sent then-Phillies southpaws Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to the Texas Rangers. Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Williams are the only remaining players from the trade, with Alec Asher, Matt Harrison and Jake Thompson being the others. In 143 games since debuting with the Phillies in September 2016, Alfaro has slashed .270/.327/.422 with 22 doubles, 15 home runs, 51 RBI, 22 walks and 179 strikeouts spanning 508 plate appearances. Last season, the Colombia native committed the most errors (11), and allowed the most stolen bases (59) and passed balls (10) among National League catchers.
Sanchez, 20, appeared in just eight games this past season with the Threshers due to injury. Over 46 2/3 innings, Sanchez went 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA and 45-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Sanchez was slated to appear in the Arizona Fall League, however he was pulled due to still recovering from right elbow inflammation.
Stewart, 21, went 8-1 with a 2.06 ERA, 90-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio ratio and 0.977 WHIP spanning 20 starts last season at Class-A Lakewood. The southpaw was drafted in the 20th round of the 2015 amateur draft.
Matt Klentak praises their scouting department considering that they acquired Sanchez for just $35,000, and Stewart was a 20th round draft pick, and they turned them into J.T. Realmuto. #Phillies— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 7, 2019
Sanchez was recently ranked as Major League Baseball's 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, and the 13-best prospect by Baseball America. Realmuto will make $5.9 million this season; he is under club control through 2020. Klentak said the Phillies did not request a window to negotiate an extension with Realmuto prior to completing the trade, but said there is “every reason to believe" he is "the type of person we want to represent the Phillies.”