The Washington Nationals have their sights set on Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
The firesale continues on in Miami, as the Marlins have traded center fielder Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers. Next up on the block is catcher J.T. Realmuto. According to Craig Mish of MLB Network, the Washington Nationals have jumped to the top of the list of potential suitors for Realmuto, who has already made it clear he does not want to stick around for the rebuild.
Catcher is a major position of need for the Nationals. Former All-Star Matt Wieters struggled mightily in his first season in DC, hitting just .225/.288/.344 with 10 home runs and 52 RBI. With little hope of doing better on the open market, the 31-year-old exercised his player option for 2018. The Nats are stuck with Wieters as their primary catcher for now, but would have no problem forcing him to the bench or dumping his salary altogether.
Realmuto has quietly emerged as one of the better young catchers in baseball. Over the past three years, he is a .281/.323/.430 hitter with 83 doubles, 12 triples, 38 home runs and 160 RBI. Realmuto’s power numbers have trended upward each year, and he plays solid defense. To top it off, the 26-year-old is a strong baserunner with 28 career steals.
The Marlins control Realmuto’s rights for three more seasons, and are holding out for a big return. Miami has reportedly requested top prospect Victor Robles as the headliner for a potential deal with the Nationals. Regardless of how much Washington may like Realmuto or want to move on from Wieters, they are not going to include Robles in a trade. The Marlins will have to set their sights a little lower, but will still find plenty of value in a deep Nationals farm system.