The latest Reds rumors revisit a potential trade involving J.T. Realmuto. Though it seems like a long shot, the Reds are said to still be in the mix.
While most likely a long shot, the Reds rumors surrounding catcher J.T. Realmuto will not go away. Though the Cincinnati Reds are not the favorites to land the Miami Marlins All-Star catcher, they’re still being mentioned as a possible landing spot for the Silver Slugger.
Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com both mention the Cincinnati Reds as a possible destination for Realmuto. Also mentioned in the reports are the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, and Atalanta Braves.
It’s hard to see the Cincinnati Reds pulling off a trade for Realmuto given that Tucker Barnhart is signed to a very team-friendly deal through 2021 with a club option for the 2022 season. The four-year extension that Barnhart signed before the end of the 2017 season has an AAV of $4M. That’s a fantastic deal for the team if Barnhart plays up to his Gold Glove potential.
Tucker Barnhart did struggle last season for the Cincinnati Reds. Barnhart has never been dominant at the plate, but he can usually hold his own. Last season, Barnhart’s average dipped to a career-low of .248. To be fair, last season saw Barnhart play more games than he ever had in his career, including a stint of 11 games at first base while Joey Votto was on the disabled list.
J.T. Realmuto is arguably the best hitting catcher in all of baseball. The 27-year-old is coming off his first All-Star season after slashing .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs. Just like the assumptions surrounding the recent acquisitions of Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, if Realmuto were to play half his games at Great American Ball Park, those numbers would likely go up.
Realmuto, if he performs up to the standard he set last season, will be a bargain with his $5.9M salary in 2019. Realmuto is then up for arbitration one more time in 2020 before hitting the free agent market in 2021.
The asking price for Realmuto will be astronomical. If the Cincinnati Reds would like the All-Star catcher on their squad, they’d have to be comfortable with the idea of giving up either Taylor Trammell or Nick Senzel.
To this point, the Reds have been unwilling to deal either of their top 2 prospects, and it’s highly unlikely they’d be willing to do so for J.T. Realmuto. The club seems to value both Trammell and Senzel as very important pieces for the future, as is evidence by their reluctance to deal either of the two earlier this offseason for Cleveland Indians’ ace Corey Kluber.
While the team may have inquired about Realmuto earlier this offseason, the latest Reds rumors regarding Realmuto just don’t seem to add up. With Barnhart in the fold for the next three seasons and the Marlins’ asking price so high for only two years of Realmuto, it’s hard to see the Cincinnati Reds making a deal for the Miami backstop.