Of all of the rumors surrounding the Braves’ this offseason, none have been quite as pervasive as the Braves’ pursuit of J.T. Realmuto. The Marlins’ star catcher is coveted by nearly half the league and the Braves, especially now that Kurt Suzuki has signed a two-year deal with the Nationals, have understandably had a high level of interest.
However, the recent reporting around such an acquisition has been quite bearish with the Marlins’ asking price being high (some even going so far as to say it is higher than it was last offseason) and rumors that the Marlins did not want to send him to a division foe. It appears that that reluctance has not been extended to just the Braves.
I am hearing that the #Marlins are telling teams in the NL East that they won’t likely trade him within the division. That is why the catching market is starting to pop. Look for the #Braves, #Mets and #Phillies to move on to other backstops as well. https://t.co/IM85Lmgdtu— Steve Phillips (@StevePhillipsGM) November 19, 2018
While the Marlins deciding to forgo looking for the best possible deal and instead worried about optics is frustrating to be sure, this isn’t that surprising. Miami has shown reluctance for a while now to send pieces to the Braves and other division foes. One only look at the deal that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers vs. what was reported that the Marlins were asking for from the Braves in return (demanding Ronald Acuna Jr. was a non-starter).
For the moment, at least, it looks like the Braves and the rest of the division are going to be looking elsewhere for catching help. Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos highlight the prominent catching free agents and there are several clubs that do not appear to be in contention that have catchers the Braves could try to acquire in trade, although none are obviously as good as Realmuto is likely to be.