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Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Reds reportedly 4 finalists for J.T. Realmuto

Several months of trade negotiations have narrowed the field of suitors. Now, can the Marlins capitalize and get them to bid against one another?

Yomiuri Giants v MLB All Stars Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

The final chapter of the saga is upon us.”

Those aren’t my words; they comes from SiriusXM and Five Reasons Sports Network host Craig Mish, who’s been all over the J.T. Realmuto situation for the past year:

Not at finish line yet.”

Among those four, Jon Heyman of Fancred hears that Cincinnati is making progress toward catching the biggest Fish available. He goes into further detail about the fit, identifying right-hander Hunter Greene (ranked No. 57 overall prospect by Baseball America), infielder Nick Senzel (No. 10) and outfielder Taylor Trammell (No. 33) as Marlins targets. Sweetening the package alongside one of those centerpieces, veteran catcher Tucker Barnhart would be a logical stopgap, he adds.

Entering this past weekend, multiple national MLB insiders (including Heyman) described increasingly active trade talks between the Marlins and a handful of suitors. The Braves have been linked to the All-Star catcher for months. The Padres and Reds emerged as legitimate potential landing spots around December’s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The Dodgers were eerily quietly until the past couple weeks.

This latest update further removes the Astros and Rays from the discussion despite both being likely 2019 contenders with ample prospect depth to trade from.

Also on Monday, Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald report that the Marlins denied a team’s request to negotiate an extension with Realmuto’s agent, Jeff Berry. That would’ve made them more comfortable moving valuable assets in the trade.

The Spring Training reporting date for pitchers and catchers, Feb. 13, serves as a soft deadline. Realmuto would have ample time to get acclimated to his new surroundings if finalized by then. The widespread interest in him is fueled by the production gap between he and and other catchers as well as his contractual status—he’s controllable for the next two seasons at salaries far below his market value (agreed to $5.9 million for this year). But allowing the “saga” to linger deep into February or March may cause teams to modify their proposals...and not in a good way.

The Marlins are believed to be seeking a combination of elite prospects—currently lacking from their own farm system—and young, controllable major leaguers.