The Phillies and Marlins have reached a trade that sends All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and an worldwide bonus slot, the teams announced Thursday.
Thursday's deal netted the Marlins a catcher - Alfaro - to replace Realmuto and a prized pitching prospect in Sanchez who has been compared on occasion to Pedro Martinez. And then you've got any free agents out there who may have been on hold, pending the resolution of this deal (not just catchers like Martin Maldonado, but also maybe the big boys, given that they are being pursued by some of the same teams that were going after Realmuto - you just don't know how those things intersect).
Sanchez is thought to be the Marlins' prized acquisition in the Realmuto trade.
"We did not have to trade J.T.", president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. The Marlins, well, they're the laughingstock of baseball, years away from relevance. The 20-year-old right-hander had been considered the Phillies' top pitching prospect for his power arm and uncanny control, but he was limited to just eight starts at the Class A level last season because of an elbow injury and there is some thought in the scouting community that he may one day end up in the bullpen.
"In Sanchez, we saw a front-of-the-rotation starter".
Last season, Realmuto hit.277 with a career-high 74 RBIs and 21 home runs.
The Phillies' winter began with Middleton, their owner, telling USA Today he may be "a little bit stupid" with his free agent spending this winter, and it ended - well, there's a good chance it hasn't ended at all. But he also struck out 138 times in 377 at-bats.
Miami's rebuilding project will probably continue for several years under CEO Derek Jeter, whose group bought the team after the 2017 season.
Realmuto was a first-time All-Star in his fourth season previous year.
Realmuto won't miss batting in Marlins Park, one of the graveyards of the majors.
In fact, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies are hoping the Realmuto addition makes Philly an even more appealing landing spot for either of the 26-year-old superstars.