The Phillies have traded for the top-rated catcher in baseball, making a deal with the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. Starting pitcher Sixto Sanchez headlines the return for Miami.
Realmuto is going to be 28 years old next month and is coming off a career year with the Marlins. He put up a 4.8 fWAR, the best among all catchers, slashing .277/.340/.484, with 21 home runs in 125 games. The right-handed catcher has been pretty consistent for the past three seasons, posting a 3.7 and 3.8 fWAR in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
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
The catcher is under team control through 2020. Realmuto will earn $5.9 million in 2019, before entering his third and final year of arbitration.
The Phillies jumped into the Realmuto sweepstakes later than other teams in the race, but obviously they ended up being the most aggressive, as their trade package included the best prospect in their minor league system.
Right-hander Sixto Sanchez is ranked as high as the 13th best prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2019 season. The 20-year-old had 45 strikeouts in 46.2 innings at single-A in 2018, recording a 2.51 ERA in eight starts.
Jorge Alfaro is also going to the Marlins and he’s been a solid catcher for the Phillies. Last season Alfaro played in 108 games, slashed .262/.324/.407, with 10 home runs. Overall, he has a career slash line of .270/.327/.422, in 143 MLB games. Alfaro is 25-years-old and won’t become a free agent until 2023.
Will Steward, a left-handed pitcher, is also going to the Marlins in the trade for Realmuto.
Will Stewart LHP ground ball machine went 8-1 at Lakewood with 2.06 ERA in 20 starts goes to #Marlins in Realmuto trade with Alfaro and Sanchez.
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) February 7, 2019
What’s next? The dominos surely will begin to fall, as several teams were in on Realmuto, but even the Phillies might feel more empowered to secure a deal for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.