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MLB Hot Stove rumors: Nationals reportedly pushing for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

The big baseball news Thursday night was the trade that sent Christian Yelich from the Marlins to the Brewers. As the dust settles on that deal, the attention as it pertains to the Marlins rebuild now turns to J.T. Realmuto. 

One might consider Realmuto the last name that makes great sense to trade, at least among position players. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and now Yelich have been dealt. Now there’s this: 

It makes sense. 

Not only do the Nationals have a monkey on their back when it comes to getting out of the NLDS, but now they are facing the possibility of losing Bryce Harper to free agency after the 2018 season. They need to do everything possibly to at least win a pennant and likely the World Series, lest this era of the franchise be viewed as a failure. 

Right now, Matt Wieters is slated to enter the season as the Nationals starting catcher. He hit .225/.288/.344 last season, for an awful 63 OPS+. He was below average at throwing out would-be base-stealers and he scored as one of the worst pitch-framers in baseball (Source: statcorner.com). He could probably have a better 2018 season, but the Nationals shouldn’t bet on that for anything better than a backup role. 

Enter Realmuto. 

The 26-year-old catcher is under team control through 2021. Last season, he hit .278/.332/.451 (109 OPS+) with 31 doubles, five triples and 17 homers. He caught 32 percent of his runners stealing (league average is 27 percent; Wieters was 25 percent). The downside is he showed as a worse framer than Wieters, but everything else is great. 

The Washington Post reports that there are four names that have been discussed with the Marlins that are non-starters for the Nats: Third baseman Anthony Rendon, shortstop Trea Turner, outfielder Victor Robles and prospect Juan Soto (their second-best prospect after Robles). The report indicates the Marlins were pushing hard for Robles. 

The Nats still have some attractive prospects to deal, such as shortstop Carter Kieboom (their first-round pick in 2016 out of high school), right-hander Erick Fedde or lefty Seth Romero. 

This is certainly a fluid situation, but at this point it would be surprising to see Realmuto not traded. 

Matt Snyder

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