clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The J.T. Realmuto trade shows the value of the slow play

The Phillies waited and waited and waited and surprised everyone by landing Realmuto.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

When the week started no one thought the Phillies were going to be the team to swing a trade for the best catcher in baseball. The deal for J.T. Realmuto that cost the Phils Sixto Sanchez & Jorge Alfaro took everyone by surprise.

Sometimes in baseball, things happen quickly. This trade was no different.

On Episode 256 of “Hittin Season,” Phillies beat writer Scott Lauber talked about the speed with which the sparks of this deal began to flicker, quickly getting bigger and bigger until the Phils and Marlins finally decided on a proposal that both sides could agree to (27:23 mark).

“It did come together fairly quickly. They did a lot of work on Realmuto early in the off-season and at that point, the Marlins were kind of shooting the moon, looking for multiples of top prospects... ...Matt Klentak said he sent kind of an innocent text message to his counterpart Michael Hill on Sunday night, kind of just sort of circling back, and it gained some traction in a very short period of time and they were able to work out a deal.”

As Lauber noted, waiting like they did for Jake Arrieta last year, played in the favor of the Phillies here.

“Waiting also can maybe benefit a team when it comes to trade talks as well. Realmuto made it pretty clear he didn’t want to go to back to Miami this year, here we are days away from pitchers and catchers and the Marlins had a realization they couldn’t bring this guy into camp, especially if we still have intentions of trading him, it would have been a pretty awkward situation. So believe it or not, their price came down a little bit, and I’m not underestimating the price because they paid a hefty price, but it was less than it was in November and the Phillies saw an opening and opportunity to get a guy they believe was the best catcher in Major League Baseball.”

Waiting is hard for us fans, especially because we’re on the outside looking in. We don’t know what the front office is thinking or doing. All we see is inaction. But whether you’re a fan of the Realmuto deal or not, this much is true.

By waiting, the Phillies got one of the best young players in baseball at a cheaper price then they would have at the start of the off-season. And it all can happen in the blink of an eye.

Therein lies the plan for Bryce Harper. The Phillies are sitting back and watching as the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants kick Harper’s tires, although it’s widely believed neither team is prepared to make the kind of offer the Phils either could make, or have already made. Matt Klentak and Co. know the landscape, they know the lack of suitors for Harper, and they know the clock is ticking for him to make a decision.

The longer this goes on, the better the Phillies’ position appears to be, although, there are risks to waiting, too. It isn’t a sure thing that being patient will result in getting what you want. Sometimes, if you wait too long, you miss an opportunity.

However, while I would certainly feel better if they made Harper the Godfather offer right now and signed him immediately, the waiting game should allow them to get Harper at a price that may allow them to continue adding other players to the roster.

In the case of Realmuto, giving up Sixto and Alfaro for him hurt, and it’s insane that having to include Sanchez this time around was actually the reduced fee for Realmuto’s services. But stud catchers don’t come cheap, so even at a discount, Realmuto was still super expensive.

Being patient allowed the Phillies to trade for a highly talented player they coveted when, earlier in the season, it was impossible. Hopefully the same patience will reward them with one of Macharper at some point over the next few days or weeks.

In the meantime, enjoy J.T. Realmuto, the spoils of their patience.