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Old 02-07-2019, 04:07 PM
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Phillies land Realmuto...

The Phillies acquired All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins on Thursday for catcher Jorge Alfaro, right-hander Sixto Sanchez, left-hander Will Stewart and $250,000 in international bonus slot money, the latest move in a busy and ambitious offseason for a team eager to return to the postseason.

Realmuto, 27, is under team control through 2020 and had been the subject of trade rumors and speculation for months, with a long list of teams showing interest. The Phillies finally met Miami's asking price with a package of three players, including their top prospect in Sanchez, to acquire perhaps the game's best catcher.

Realmuto posted an .825 OPS with 21 home runs and is considered a good defensive catcher and framer, worth 4.8 Wins Above Replacement per FanGraphs last season. He's one of the game's most athletic catchers and comes equipped with a team-friendly deal. Realmuto is set to earn $5.9 million in 2019, will be arbitration-eligible next offseason and can become a free agent after the '20 season.

Realmuto marks the latest addition in what has been a busy offseason in Philadelphia. To a team that finished 80-82 last season, the Phils' front office has added Andrew McCutchen to the outfield, Jean Segura at shortstop and David Robertson to a revamped bullpen. And they still have eyes on adding either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that the Phillies would see the addition of Realmuto as a move to help entice Harper or Machado, not one that would prevent them from adding either of the top free agents. They remain optimistic they will land one of the two players.

The Phillies began to re-engage with the Marlins on trade talks for Realmuto earlier this week and they were willing to surrender Sanchez, MLB Pipeline's 27th-ranked prospect in all of baseball. Sanchez, 20, missed significant time last season with right elbow inflammation, but he still throws a fastball routinely in the mid-90s and is a promising pitching prospect.

Miami pushed for another top prospect in the deal, perhaps third baseman Alec Bohm -- the Phils' first-round Draft pick in 2018 and No. 2 prospect -- but Philadelphia held firm and said no, a source told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Instead the Phillies were able to include other pieces to acquire Realmuto. Alfaro was one of the Phils' primary catchers last season and posted a .731 OPS in 108 games, but he would have struggled to find playing time with the addition of Realmuto. And Stewart posted a 2.06 ERA in 20 starts at Class A Lakewood.

It's a big haul for one player, but the Phillies are trying to compete now in a crowded National League East in 2019, and their lineup just got a lot better.
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