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Marlins, Astros engaged in J.T. Realmuto trade negotiations

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“I’m ready to be here, ready to play the season, whether it is in Miami or somewhere else,” Realmuto said during Saturday’s FanFest.

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Just minutes after the Miami Marlins completed their 2018 FanFest at Marlins Park, SiriusXM’s Craig Mish reported that catcher J.T. Realmuto is a trade target of the reigning World Series champions:

A Marlins spokesman challenges the accuracy of some of these details, Mish adds.

Entering his age-27 season, Realmuto would represent an improvement over the Houston Astros’ current catching options.

This past summer, he batted .278/.332/.451 (105 wRC+) with 17 home runs in 141 games, accounting for 3.6 fWAR. Houston backstops in 2017—mostly Brian McCann and Evan Gattis—put together a .247/.316/.439 combined slash line (102 wRC+) with 34 home runs. Their overall production was valued at 2.7 fWAR.

Realmuto has three remaining years of club control prior to free agency, which perfectly aligns with the Astros’ window of contention. He’ll earn just $2.9 million in 2018 after losing his arbitration case to the Marlins.

Realmuto’s name has been all over the rumor mill this offseason, particularly in the past few weeks. His agent, Jeff Berry of CAA Baseball, spoke publicly about his client’s status, admitting that their preference was to complete a trade prior to spring training.

Assembled media at FanFest on Saturday asked Realmuto directly about his mindset. His comments, as transcribed by MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro:

“I know what you guys know,” Realmuto said in his first public statements of the offseason. “Obviously, there’s trade rumblings and people out there talking about it. But for me, I’m just getting ready to play the season. That’s all I can do. I’m ready to be here, ready to play the season, whether it is in Miami or somewhere else. I’m just here to do my job and play baseball.”

Realmuto at Saturday’s FanFest

Kyle Tucker, the outfielder mentioned by Mish, is baseball’s No. 11 overall prospect (going by composite rankings). He’s even more highly regarded than the Fish’s current top prospect, newly acquired Lewis Brinson (No. 23). Tucker turned 21 in January and could realistically make his MLB debut this coming season.