If it feels as if you’ve landed on Red Repoter dot com and seen a story about Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto about sixteen different times over the last two months, well, that’s probably because it’s close to the truth. The Cincinnati Reds have been continually connected with the All-Star backstop from the rebuilding Marlins, and that’s something that apparently is still the case, according to Fanrag’s Jon Heyman.
Dodgers and Padres have been at the forefront of the Realmuto talks in recent days. However, word now is that a 3rd team — believed to be the Reds — is also making a push.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 28, 2019
The Los Angeles Dodgers, of course, let Yasmani Grandal go in free agency after the end of the 2018 season, so they’re certainly in the mix for an upgrade at catcher. The San Diego Padres, meanwhile, boast both Francisco Mejia and Austin Hedges as top-quality young options at backstop, but given their recent connection to potentially signing Manny Machado and super-stacked farm system, perhaps they’re eyeing multiple big-ticket moves to help dig themselves out of the NL West cellar.
Funny, that sounds a lot like what the Reds have been up to this winter while trying to get out of the NL Central basement...
Again, it’s clear that Realmuto is an upgrade over pretty much any catching scenario in the majors - his 8.6 fWAR over the last two seasons is far and away the best among catchers in all of baseball. Still, with the Reds needing upgrades in other places (read: in the rotation, potentially, and perhaps in CF), it’s odd to see them chasing a catcher, especially considering top prospect Taylor Trammell has been the rumored ask from the fish throughout this process. Factor in the team-friendly deal inked by Tucker Barnhart just two seasons ago, and the fact that the Reds other catching option, Curt Casali, has a lengthy history with new pitching coach Derek Johnson and the recently extended Sonny Gray from their days at Vanderbilt University, and it would seem adding Realmuto would be creating quite the roster logjam.
Unless, of course, Barnhart is somehow involved in any prospective deal, which is another rabbit hole in which we can fall:
Reds are indeed very much in Realmuto mix. Cincy prospects Hunter Greene, Nick Senzel and Taylor Trammell are thought of interest to Miami, though Reds likely prefer not to include any of those 3. Possibility vet catcher Tucker Barnhart could be included in potential deal as well— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 28, 2019
Regardless of the outcome, it’s once again encouraging to see the Reds so intimately interested in the best available pieces in baseball today. That’s certainly something we’ve not been able to say for quite a while. Stay tuned...