Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto wants to be traded: report
Miami has dealt Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon in December
J.T. Realmuto wants to join the Miami Marlins' exodus.
The catcher requested a trade in the wake of the team's latest payroll purge, a person familiar with the situation said Monday. The person confirmed Realmuto's request to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Marlins didn't comment.
The person said Realmuto's agent told the Marlins a trade would make sense for the rebuilding team because of his high market value.
This month the Marlins have traded major league home run champion Giancarlo Stanton, all-star left-fielder Marcell Ozuna and major league stolen base champ Dee Gordon. The franchise is reducing payroll and rebooting under a new ownership group that includes Derek Jeter.
Realmuto hit .278 with 17 homers this year and is regarded as one of the best young catchers in the majors. He's eligible for arbitration for the first time after making $562,500 US this year, but won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season, which makes the Marlins reluctant to part with him.
Realmuto could bring a windfall in prospects, and the Marlins are anxious to build up a farm system that has been ranked among the worst in the majors.
At last week's winter meetings, manager Don Mattingly spoke of Realmuto as a player to rebuild around.
"I love J.T.," Mattingly said. "It's probably not fair, but I laid a little bit of a Yadier Molina tag on him. When you're facing the Cardinals and Yadier Molina is behind the plate, you're not happy about it. We feel J.T. can be that guy. He's not there yet, but we think this guy will step up leadership-wise and be a guy you can win a championship with."
More cost-cutting trades are expected from the Marlins this off-season, with centre-fielder Christian Yelich among the candidates to be dealt.
Christan Yelich making it rather clear that he would love to be traded, and while the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Marlins?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Marlins</a> understand his frustration, say they still want to keep him. Of course, that could also change if they get an offer this winter that blows them away.—@BNightengale
Christian Yelich is no longer in play as a trade candidate, source confirms. Now that the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Marlins?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Marlins</a> have moved Stanton, Gordon and Ozuna, they can easily afford to keep him. Yelich will make $7M this season and is owed a guaranteed $44.5M through 2021. Club-friendly deal.—@jcrasnick