It may not be the deal you were expecting even a few days ago, but the Phillies have acquired 27-year-old catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins in exchange for catcher Jorge Alfaro, minor league pitchers Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, as well as international bonus money. The team has confirmed the trade.
The agreement was first reported by Jim Bowden:
#Phillies #Marlins deal agreed upon. 4 players going to #Marlins including Sanchez and Alfaro in return for Realmuto.— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) February 7, 2019
Jeff Passan confirmed which players would go to the Marlins.
Philadelphia and Miami are in agreement on a trade that would send All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and an international bonus slot, league sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 7, 2019
In Realmuto, the Phillies are arguably getting the best catcher in baseball. In 2018, he slashed .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs, earning his first All-Star bid and the National League Silver Slugger award.
Realmuto has expressed displeasure with the Marlins since they traded away stars Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich last year. His name has been mentioned in trade rumors the entire offseason with the Phillies often attached. However, talks picked up intensity in the past few days.
The trade came at a high price. Alfaro showed signs of developing into a quality catcher in his own right, while Sanchez was the team’s top prospect and ranked in the top 25 across baseball by most pundits. Stewart is less heralded, but still possesses some potential.
Stewart was my #22 prospect. He is a 21 year old LHP. Fastball up to 94, solid changeup, workable slider. Weird arm angle guy who gets a ton of ground balls but doesn't miss many bats. Potential backend starter with LH RP fallback. Was with Lakewood last year https://t.co/YXCrPrwMF0— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) February 7, 2019
Heading into his age 28 season, Realmuto should continue to be among the top catchers in baseball for the next few seasons. He is still under team control for two more years, and reportedly would be willing to negotiate an extension with the Phillies.
Realmuto turns 28 in March. He's under club control for two more seasons. He was not open to extension talks with Miami, but two sources said those talks are expected to happen with Phillies.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) February 7, 2019
Although it comes at a heavy price, the Phillies’ appear to have improved their major league roster. The team is still reportedly in pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in free agency, so there is the possibility that it may yet improve further.