Back in July, 27-year-old catcher J.T. Realmuto was establishing himself as one of baseball’s premier all-around players and welcoming his first child into the world. Seemed like the perfect time for the Marlins to approach him with a contract extension offer, working towards creating a stable, long-term situation for everybody involved. Sure enough, they did, SiriusXM/Five Reasons Sports host Craig Mish reported Monday afternoon.
Sources: #Marlins offered J.T. Realmuto two separate contract extensions. 4 yrs 43 mil back in July and then 5 yrs 61 mil, w option for 6th yr (76 mil total). Realmuto’s camp did counter with an offer and then pulled it off the table and never returned.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 3, 2018
Mish’s information aligns with a recent scoop from Jon Heyman of Fancred. “Weeks ago the Marlins and Realmuto’s camp talked about a possible extension,” according to Heyman, “and they were so far apart that a trade seems even likelier than before.”
Presumably, these offers from the Marlins were heavily backloaded. Despite his performance, Realmuto is in a somewhat vulnerable position because he has two remaining years of arbitration eligibility, and a skill set that traditionally gets undervalued by the current system. The MLB Trade Rumors projection model pegs him for a $6.1 million salary in 2019. From there, another terrific season might bump him into the $10-11 million range for 2020.
Even so, these potential extensions attempted to severely discount the subsequent free-agent years (2021 and beyond). Also, the guaranteed terms would’ve only covered his prime; if Realmuto is to forego the opportunity to test the open market, he’d be seeking something closer to a lifetime deal.
One of our Twitter faves Ms. Mambo noted that it’s impossible to reconcile the Marlins’ sky-high asking price in trade talks with these figures that would compensate Realmuto like an average starting catcher. Multiple reports have suggested that they’ve been pressuring other organizations to include their No. 1 prospect as the centerpiece of any potential deal.
The front office hopes that fans will interpret this news as an honest attempt to keep their most recognizable and productive player in Miami. Following Mish’s report, team sources told Fish Stripes that their “final offer” was never presented to Realmuto. His camp “chose not to continue conversing” towards a solution.
That stance is unconvincing.
It’s ultimately in the best interest of both sides to facilitate a trade...assuming that the controllable players who come back in return become building blocks within the Marlins’ window of legitimate contention.