Reds rumors: J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes entering “advanced stages”

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Catcher J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins grounds out in the bottom of 6th inning during the game four between Japan and MLB All Stars at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima on November 13, 2018 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Catcher J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins grounds out in the bottom of 6th inning during the game four between Japan and MLB All Stars at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima on November 13, 2018 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /
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We’ve heard plenty of Reds rumors surrounding J.T. Realmuto over the past several days. For what it’s worth, the trade talks are said to have entered “advanced stages”.

The Reds rumors just keep coming, as the pursuit of J.T. Realmuto has entered “advanced stages”. Not really sure what that means, as we’ve already heard the terms “substantive” talks and “making progress” used in the last week to describe a potential deal between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins.

Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported yesterday that the Cincinnati Reds, along with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and Los Angeles Dodgers are still in the mix for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Barring a late surge from another team, Frisaro seems confident that a deal will get done soon and it will involve that quartet of teams.

So much of this potential deal is contingent upon what team is willing to give up the most assets. Both the Padres and Braves might have more to give, in terms of top-level prospects, than the Reds. However, Tucker Barnhart‘s team-friendly contract would give the Marlins an immediate, low-cost replacement for their All-Star catcher.

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At 27-years old, Realmuto is coming off an All-Star season and entering the prime of his career. Granted, he has only two years of team-control left until he becomes a free agent in 2021 and that has several teams leery of giving up too much for a player that the Marlins are obviously willing to move. Miami has been unwilling to allow any of the prospective clubs to attempt to negotiate a long-term deal with Realmuto.

The Cincinnati Reds are in a good position when it comes to the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes. They’re obviously not desperate for a big league catcher, as Barnhart is signed through 2021, and the team is already loaded with power bats up and down the lineup. In fact, the question has been asked, why do the Reds even need Realmuto?

It’s a fair question given that Barnhart has displayed the ability to be a very solid defensive catcher. However, Barnhart’s offensive and defensive numbers took a bit of a dip last season, and it’s not every day you get the opportunity to land the best hitting catcher in the major leagues

If you’re someone who likes the advanced analytics, Barnhart’s WAR last season was 0.9, while Realmuto’s was 4.3. It’s very likely that number would go up if J.T. Realmuto played half his games at Great American Ball Park rather than the cavernous Marlins Park in Miami. The Reds have already made an effort to improve their starting pitching, Realmuto’s bat could give the team 80-plus RBIs from the backstop position.

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We’ll find out in the coming days how true these Reds rumors really are. In my opinion, the Atlanta Braves, out of all the teams involved, are in the best position to acquire J.T. Realmuto. They’re ready to complete for a championship and have the prospects to get a deal done. But, don’t count the Reds out just yet.