With the San Francisco Giants reportedly entering into the mix for Bryce Harper, things are a little more complicated for the Philadelphia Phillies and General Manager Matt Klentak to sign the superstar free agent outfielder.
Harper is not the only All-Star the Phillies are targeting to "move the needle," however, as they reportedly have re-entered the mix to acquire catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins.
There could be a link between Harper and Realmuto that may entice the Phillies to land both prior to Opening Day on March 28. Wednesday evening on SportsRadio 94 WIP, Marlins.com's Joe Frisaro said Harper "loves" Realmuto, and if the Phillies acquire him from Miami, it could "enhance" their chances" to sign the Scott Boras-represented outfielder:
"The Padres, a week or so ago, were in on Realmuto about that same time you heard that the Padres were meeting with Harper’s group.
At the All-Star Game, Harper put a Nationals hat on top of Realmuto’s head during the introductions.
In a game where the Marlins happened to beat the Nationals in Miami -- J.T. hit the game-winning hit (a little flare to right field) and he made a great play in the field throwing a guy out. After the game, Harper publicly said, ‘If we had that guy, we would have won.’"
Frisaro's radio interview came just hours after he reported that the Marlins are seeking Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez in any trade for Realmuto. Frisaro said that if the Phillies part with Sanchez, and he's "not convinced they’re not," he thinks the Marlins could be open to the trade.
"Along with Jorge Alfaro being [the other piece to] this, I think there’s a very solid chance that something can get done if both sides want to push that to the finish line," Frisaro said.
A majority appears to be leaning toward keeping Sanchez, however; among over 360 responses to SportsTalkPhilly.com's Twitter poll, approximately 56 percent said they would not want to include the right-hander in a trade for Realmuto. When asked of the possibility that Sanchez could not be included in a Realmuto trade, Frisaro said he was told "no," and that it is a "must" he is part of the trade package, albeit recent injury history.
"Adonis Medina, I would take that guy in a heartbeat, [too]. That guy is a stud, and he’s [the Phillies’] fourth or fifth[-ranked] prospect," Frisaro said.
"It just seems like [the Marlins are] set on Sanchez.”
Frisaro said Realmuto would benefit from a change in scenery, especially playing in the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, rather than Marlins Park, which "does not favor hitters."
"Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 home runs two years ago here; if he played anywhere else it would have been 65 ... The ballpark just does not reward power," Frisaro said. "[Realmuto] did what he did last year slugging-wise on a team that lost 98 games. He was the guy. He is a very special player, and that’s why I think so many teams are in on him."
Frisaro added that Realmuto would immediately change the Phillies' culture, and that he's not just the fastest catcher "in terms of foot speed," he is "one of the fastest guys in baseball" overall.
"This guy, wherever he goes, I like that team’s chances to going to the postseason."