The Philadelphia Phillies acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins in exchange for three players. The players heading to Miami are catcher Jorge Alfaro who was one of the Phillies big league catchers in 2018, left-handed pitcher Will Stewart who pitched for the team’s Class A Lakewood team, and right-hander Sixto Sanchez.
Of the three players the Marlins acquired, Sanchez is by far the biggest prize. Although missing time last season with inflammation in his pitching elbow, the 20-year old is regarded as the Phillies top prospect and the number 27 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
The Phillies will also send the Marlins $250,000 in international bonus slot money.
Philadelphia is eager to spend money this offseason. But with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still holding up the free agent market, the Phillies shifted their sights to the trade market.
At first glance, the trade looks to be a win-win. Realmuto did not appear to be eager to negotiate a contract extension with the Marlins after his contract expires in 2020. His team-friendly contract includes a $5.9 million salary this year and one more year of team control (albeit with arbitration). This means his trade value was probably at its peak. The Marlins get a nice package of players from the Phillies to continue their rebuild.
The Phillies, in turn, get an up-and-coming player who is known as one of baseball’s most athletic catchers, and they still have enough money to compete for the services of Harper and Machado. The team has also expressed interest in possibly acquiring left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel and/or right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel.
To emphasize this point general manager Matt Klentak had this to say about the trade for Realmuto, “I think this is another acquisition for our club this offseason that demonstrates our commitment to winning. I would hope that the demonstration would be appealing to potential free agents.”
It’s no secret that the Phillies are planning a return to the postseason. They were listed as one of the teams with the most financial flexibility and pledged to spend “stupid” money if needed to land one or more premium free agents.
“We came into the offseason looking to get better,” said Klentak. “We were an 80-win team last year and looking for ways to continue to add wins to the ledger and put us in the playoff mix.”
However, despite adding outfielder Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura and bullpen specialist David Robertson, in addition to Realmuto, the Phillies may still need to land either Harper or Machado to compete in an N.L. East that has proved to be the most active division in an otherwise chilly hot stove season.