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Realmuto’s really out-o

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All-Star catcher will not sign extension with Marlins, agent says

Cincinnati Reds v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

J.T. Realmuto has informed the Marlins that he will not sign an extension with the them, his agent Jeff Berry told MLB Network Radio on Tuesday.

Miami has two more years of control over the 27-year-old through the arbitration process, so the agent cannot guarantee the backstop won’t be in a Marlins uniform next season. However, Berry reasoned similarly to how I did when projecting the 2019 payroll: if the player won’t re-sign, then the team should deal him now while he’s at peak value and health so they can get maximum return for him.

While there’s no requirement to complete a deal “by the start of spring training” as Berry insists, the wide variety of potential Realmuto suitors may convince the Marlins to do that, regardless of public pressure.

The Nationals, Astros, Phillies, and Dodgers seem like the most logical trade partners, as each team has a need at the position and a farm system deep enough to pay the steep price a controllable, stud catcher will cost. MLB Trade Rumors listed eight clubs with vacancies at the spot while also indicating that other teams are likely to inquire about Realmuto given his cost-effective, elite status at baseball’s scarcest position in terms of offensive talent.

Realmuto was worth nearly five WAR in 2018. Had a deal gotten done prior to the season with his position filled entirely by replacement-level options (think Chad Wallach), that would have meant a 58-103 season for the Fish. Clearly though, regular season wins are not important to a rebuilding franchise, and fans can be confident that trading their star catcher is the best move for the team in the long run.