Dodgers Trade Rumors: Why the Front Office Should Be Pursuing J.T. Realmuto


Nothing like the July non-waiver trade deadline to get baseball-minded folks excited in terms of what their favorite team’s main priorities should be. For the past few weeks, many analysts and experts have stated that perennial All-Star shortstop and current franchise-face of the Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado is the player the Dodgers currently have their sights set on to upgrade their roster. However, it’s probably not close to the best available move.

For one, Machado’s in the final year of his contract and would strictly be a rental for the remainder of this season. Another prickly point is that he’s still standing firm by his word that he would ONLY play shortstop on whichever team gains his services. Not only does that force teams to back away from the Orioles’ trade demands, but it also limits Machado’s chances of playing on a legit contender—especially one that seriously stresses defensive versatility like the Dodgers have done in recent years. All of this is beside the point, though. The primary focus here is to make a very strong case for the Dodgers potentially resetting their sights and going after Miami Marlins’ starting backstop and first-time All-Star J.T. Realmuto.

To start off, a little basic background info on Realmuto—he was born on March 18, 1991 in Del City, Oklahoma, and he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Marlins in the 2010 MLB draft—No. 104 overall—out of Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma. He spent five years on the Marlins’ farm before finally being called up to the parent club in 2014, compiling a .269 avg with a .734 OPS through 438 games in the minors.

Realmuto’s overall numbers have continued to improve each year since making his official big-league debut and have culminated in what is now turning out to be a career-best season. By far, the most telling stat for him this year has been his WAR (Wins Above Replacement). For those who don’t follow sabermetrics closely, basically, it’s a stat used to gauge a player’s total value to their team when stacked against either a replacement player from down on the farm or one that’s readily available on the free agent market. Realmuto’s WAR in general currently ranks him sixth in the league at 3.7, which also places him second among position players. That’s extremely important because it’s literally saying that Realmuto is the second most valuable position player in the league right now, with Milwaukee Brewers OF Lorenzo Cain currently at No. 1. That means if the Marlins didn’t have Realmuto starting games for them behind the plate most of the time, their overall W-L record would definitely end up becoming the biggest eyesore in MLB.

Realmuto’s OPS ranks him seventh in the league at .919, which is rather impressive for a catcher. To put it into perspective further, the only Dodger player ahead of him in that category is Max Muncy in fifth place with an eye-opening 1.030 OPS—if he would have had enough ABs to qualify before Thursday’s game. Matt Kemp is the next Dodger behind Muncy—ninth on the NL list at .890. Nobody can say they couldn’t use Realmuto in this year’s Dodger lineup with an OPS that solid, especially considering how the Dodgers’ catchers have hit this season.

Back to the WAR argument, do you know where Machado ranks in the AL in that category this season? He’s not even in the Top 10. As a matter of fact, the last time Machado cracked the Top 10 in that most telling of sabermetric stat lines was back in 2016 at 6.9, ranking him sixth at the time. In terms of Machado’s OPS this season, it’s a little better at .957, also ranking him 6th in the league. If the Dodgers were to go all in on Machado like they’ve been rumored as of late, they most likely would’ve ended up landing a “bat-first” shortstop who’s probably no better defensively than either Enrique Hernandez or even Chris Taylor.

(Photo Credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Consequently, the Dodgers would have needlessly given up several fairly valuable prospects for roughly 2-1/2 months of Machado’s services. By comparison, Realmuto easily supplants current Dodger starting catcher Yasmani Grandal in every single aspect, while also giving the club two more cost-controlled years of service. With the way this current Dodger roster is set up, you’re looking at a possible World Series contender for at least the remainder of those two years still attached to Realmuto. Personally, if I were the Dodger front office, that alone would do it for me in terms of attempting to get a deal completed.

Now with all the technical info on the table, the real question  in need of answering revolves around what exactly would the Dodgers possibly give up for a player of Realmuto’s caliber at this point. The Nationals recently inquired about the asking price for Realmuto and quickly walked away after finding out the Marlins were demanding a trade package centered around either one of their Top 2 prospects—outfielders Victor Robles and recently promoted Juan Soto. As for the Dodgers, a few frequent commenters have mentioned an asking price that could be centered around top pitching prospect Walker Buehler, but that’s mere speculation than fact.

Until both front offices start seriously engaging in negotiations regarding the true value of Realmuto’s worth in any potential deal, no one can truly say for certain what it would take to complete a trade. I do know one thing that can’t be ignored—Realmuto did reveal to the press earlier this season that he indeed wants to be dealt to a playoff contender. With the way things have been for the Dodgers in terms of their catching situation in particular, it would be in their absolute best interest to at least look into the matter fully and sooner rather than later.

Personally speaking, I would start off by including a trade package centered around one of the Dodgers’ top catching prospects—either Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith, though I’d rather hold onto Smith for versatility purposes—and top SS prospect Gavin Lux. If the Marlins demand the Dodgers include a pitching prospect in the deal, I’d let them have their pick of anyone outside of Buehler, Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson, or perhaps even Dustin May, unless closer Kyle Barraclough gets thrown into the mix, and only then would I probably be willing to cough up an arm like May’s in the deal.

All comments are welcome, especially ones related to what you think the Dodgers would be willing to sacrifice for Realmuto. Who knows, maybe sometime soon the focus of the front office will shift to Realmuto instead of having to deal with the catching situation over the winter. But, more importantly, by acquiring Realmuto right now, the lineup would be instantly upgraded while putting the team in a better position to succeed in this year’s playoffs.


30 thoughts on “Dodgers Trade Rumors: Why the Front Office Should Be Pursuing J.T. Realmuto

  1. Whoa, looks and reads even better than I thought it would on here (thanks for including the pics btw, Dennis!). Now I’m feeling pretty inspired right now, lol. Meh, I’ll start acting with a bit more humility for a change…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First thing I learned here is that your first name isn’t Manuel, your last name is. So would you prefer we tell Manuel we disagree with him or should we tell that to Jason? 🙂
    Very complete and well thought out post Mr. Manuel and I think you need to send a copy to Realmuto’s agent who would find it quite helpful at contract time.
    Isn’t there some Act of Congress that entitles us to transcripts of all trade conversations between GM’s? It’s great to argue amongst ourselves as to who has more value to the Dodgers or which prospects are worth holding on to vs. which ones to trade, but of course we have no idea what the O’s or Marlins are asking for Manny and Realmuto. In a total vacuum I would trade Verdugo and Ruiz or Smith plus a low level pitching prospect for Realmuto. But we aren’t dealing in a vacuum, because we need a couple of high end relievers more than we need a catcher right now (my opinion and one which others might not agree with). So first I would go out and get those bullpen pieces and I’m guessing that would cost some of the guys we would have put into the Realmuto deal. I’m talking about guys like Hand, Iglesias, Vazquez, Treinen, etc. whom we would control for anywhere from 2 to 5 years after this season. I would then find out what the Marlins want for their catcher and what the Mets want for deGrom and take stock of what was left in my farm system. I’m guessing I probably wouldn’t have enough left to go after either one of them.


    1. Well, I got news for you Jeff: Manuel is not really my last name, either:::snicker:::it’s actually part of my full name, though. Let that little mystery roll around in your head in the meantime regarding which one is truly my first name, OK? That said, I agree that going after Realmuto is not what the Dodgers should necessarily be doing first on their list of trade priorities for this season. HOWEVER, I firmly believe they have just enough on the farm short of setting back its valued depth to get such an important deal like that one done regardless. The real key here is Grandal. Last time I checked, he still has considerable trade value at this point in the season (preferably to an AL contender desperately looking to boost their offensive production at the C position, which has been largely non-existent in that league this year aside from All-Star Wilson Ramos and Gabby Sanchez before the latter got injured recently). Flip him for a fairly decent prospect haul (not talking Top 3 farmhands here, but definitely somewhere in the Top 10) to fill most of the void left by the ones that will be used in the trade package to secure bullpen help, or better yet, use HIM as the centerpiece of a deal to land that elusive late-inning relief arm Dodgers have been sorely lacking since parting ways with Morrow this past winter.

      So many directions the front office can go in regarding these trade scenarios, it’s enough to get one’s head spinning non-stop. And if your proposed package of Verdugo, Ruiz (or Smith, if push turns to shove), and a low-level pitching prospect is still not enough for the Marlins to part ways with their All-Star catcher, simply means they’re more interested in extending him beyond this season. Fine with me if that be the case, especially since it increases the Dodgers’ chances of leaving Will Smith out of any potential deadline deal knowing what we already know about him and what he’s done so far for AA Tulsa this season.


      1. OK Jason Manuel, from now on I just refer to you as Mr. X. We definitely have a difference of opinion on how much trade value Grandal has. You say we could use him as the centerpiece to get our top flight relief arm. The only place we’re going to get that guy is from a team no longer in the pennant chase. Why would a team like that want a fairly expensive catcher for 3 months? A contender might be interested but they aren’t going to trade a good bullpen arm. Am I wrong here?


      2. Wrong? Possibly Jeff and here’s why. Grandal is still one of THE top offensive catchers in MLB this season when all’s said and done. Therefore, he has quite a bit of trade value and definitely enough to either get a coveted late-inning bullpen arm as a trade centerpiece (AL contender or not), or at the very least net a respectable prospect package which the Dodgers in turn could flip for that key relief arm anyway. Here’s another thing you’ve failed to consider regarding Grandal: the guy is still in his prime at 29 and won’t turn 30 until the end of this year. He’s no washed-up veteran as far as his bat’s concerned for that matter. And it’s not just a walk year for him, but a potential audition for a multi-year deal from whichever team lands him at the trade deadline. It would be foolhardy to assume no team out there would be interested in what Grandal has to offer and even more so to assume the Dodgers can’t get any value back for him.


    2. Btw, I meant GARY Sanchez and not Gabby. Gettin’ one mixed up with an ex-MLB player all of a sudden. Must be the heat out here in SoCal, lol!


  3. Good article manny thanks for the stats. I did look at realmuttos numbers a few days ago after talking to you, I was a little surprised about his war being so high. I do have one question, how many years of control is left for realmutto?That is going to be a big factor on his asking price. If the dodgers did decide to go down this road, I would think an outfielder, and a catcher from our system would get their attention.


  4. I didn’t see Jeff’s post until mine came out, I’m thinking the same as you on a realmutto trade as far as cost goes. As far as relievers go I think the A’s are doing to good to trade Treinen, and after the padres extended Hand they are not going to move him, at least not this season, to much bad P. R. I would love Iglesias, me and you wanted him last year, Jeff, Vasquez, or Barraclough would be great also. The guy I think we have the best chance of snagging is Kela. We dealt with them last July, why not this year.


    1. You’re welcome, Keith. Yeah,an OF prospect on the level of a Verdugo or a Yusniel Diaz paired up with one of those top C prospects already mentioned on here ought to do it as far as acquiring Realmuto goes. And if throwing in one of those low-level pitching prospects that’s currently on the fast track (i.e. Dustin May, Dean Kremer, Tony Gonsolin, etc.) is what it would take to net them Barraclough in the process, that would be the best-case scenario for me. I agree that Treinen and Hand are probably off the list for good due to recent circumstances regarding both their respective ballclubs, but I sure wouldn’t mind seeing the Dodgers going after Kela should they finally decide to give the Rangers a call…


    2. Oh, and Realmuto has to more years left after this one. Forgot to include that part in my reply, but there ya go, buddy.


  5. I’m surprised there aren’t more Barraclough rumors out there. There is a little buzz around him, I thought there would be a lot more.


  6. Brad Ziegler has 15 Ks in 16.1 IP, 0.54 era, and a 0.90 whip over the last month. Just throwing that out there.


    1. Speaking of K’s Keith, The Big K (Kasowski) pitched 1.1 innings tonight with 4 k’s. Now has 35 in 19 innings. Yes, it’s only high-A ball, but still ridiculous.


  7. Personally, I can’t see too many clubs interested in either Grandal or Forsythe. But I do agree it could be a good time to move Ruiz, as his value may never be higher. On another note, it looks like Robert’s is intent on making Floro his eighth-inning guy, at least for now.


    1. Oh, I’m sure there’s at least a couple teams interested in Grandal in that other league at this point in the season (only need to strike a deal with one of ’em, buddy), but yeah it may be time to bite the bullet with Forsythe and buy out the remainder of his contract. But with Justin Turner now experiencing leg problems again after coming up lame running down the 1B line on a groundout in last night’s game, it might just give the front office yet another cheap excuse to keep him around even longer than they should just in case he rediscovers his “Tampa Bay” form all of a sudden. So damn frustrating to witness this season, where’s Breyvic Valera when you need him???

      Oh well, definitely on board with sending Ruiz on his way in the next major deadline deal. He actually became expendable the moment top international C prospect Diego Cartaya was officially signed by the Dodger brass recently. As for Floro, he’s already washed the bad aftertaste of Pedro Baez out of my mind in only his 3rd appearance for the Blue Crew so far. His stuff and elaborate delivery strongly reminds me of former Angels reliever Scot Shields from back in the day. If he ends up developing a tailing two-seamer that catches the inside corner of the plate against southpaws like Shields previously had, Roberts just might have a valid 8th inning option to roll with down the stretch.after all. At the very least, he has a bullpen arm that can come in and dominate righties as well as induce potential groundball DPs like Scott Alexander usually does from the left side when he’s on. Another good under-the-radar pickup by the Dodger front office “geek squad”, I must humbly admit…


      1. I’m as enthused about Floro as you guys are…………………………… far. But remember, we thought so highly of him that we dfa’d him in April. Then we had to go give up a decent prospect to get him back. I guess we have to give the front office credit for admitting they made a mistake the first time around, but it’s still a very small sample size. He could turn into another Scot Shields, or he could turn into another……………………….Pedro Baez. Let’s hope it’s the former. Turner’s leg problems coupled with his wrist situation make it more likely in my mind that we get either Machado or a second baseman. I absolutely refuse to believe that they will go the rest of the season counting on any production out of Forsythe. I think they realize that Turner won’t be available as often as they would like so they’ll have to count on playing Muncy at third when that happens and that creates a big hole at second. One thing we haven’t discussed much is the fact that the Giants and Rox have tightened things up to the point where it’s definitely a four team race to the finish. We need to get as much ammunition as we can because we still have lots of games against the other three and if we don’t win the division there are still seven teams with a good chance at the NL wild card.


  8. Haven’t posted in a while but still read. Things have picked up in here.

    For what it’s worth I don’t see a major catching trade mid season of drive for a playoff bid. It’s ok to send Barnes down and bring up, whoever, as a backup, but I don’t see them moving Grandal – unless of course the staff doesn’t like him – and I don’t believe that’s the case. Moving his contract would help in other possible moves, and if he was at another position I could see them doing it. Not catching. Not mid season. The organization is suddenly catching rich, and one could be moved, but not for Realmuto.

    My gut tells me pitching at the deadline. Machado would be great, and a consistent middle order right handed thumper would no doubt be beneficial, but I don’t think it happens. We will be looking to upgrade pitching.


    1. Hey Scoop. Miss your comments. Don’t be a silent reader. Your 2 cents is just as valuable as the rest of ours.


    2. It’s not that the staff doesn’t like Grandal, but more to do with Grandal regressing behind the plate in terms of his defense this season. Folks forget he was largely absent in last year’s playoffs because of him fizzling down the stretch. So fortunate they caught lightning in a bottle with in-house option Austin Barnes that season or else it could’ve been a far different story for the ballclub as a result. That’s why the write-up discussing a possible Realmuto deal to address that growing issue, but it doesn’t mean the Dodgers should cease going after more relief pitching which is still their top priority at the deadline right now. And yeah, the Dodgers may be “catching rich” as you’ve put it…but is it of the quality of a Realmuto??? So far, the only one down there I’ve seen making that grade is Will Smith who’s currently making a mockery of the Texas League and could very well earn a promotion to AAA OKC real soon. Moment he does, maybe it would be enough for the Dodger brass to back off pursuing Realmuto and start grooming Smith to be Grandal’s eventual successor (which could happen as soon as this September if he continues to trend up at his current pace). Besides, I prefer backstops who are natural team leaders and exhibit those qualities on a regular basis. Can’t say I get that sense from Grandal or even Barnes for that matter. Farmer, maybe. Realmuto and Smith? DEFINITELY!


    1. Looks like retirement, but at the end of the year. Kind of out of character for Chase to hold a press conference about himself.


  9. I get the why Manuel. I was just presenting the why not.

    We will need to decide who of the 3 great young catchers we have is the catcher of the future. Could that future start soon? Yeah, I believe it could. I don’t think the plan would be to bring Smith or Ruiz up to play behind Realmuto. J.T. is 27 years old. He’s going to be a starter for a while yet. Will Smith will be 24 at the start of next season. I think he’s ready.

    Al that said, I wouldn’t be disappointed to see J.T. Realmuto in a Dodger uniform.

    Why hold a press conference to announce you’re retiring in a few months? Utley is from Long Beach. Too bad we didn’t get him early.


  10. If Realmuto’s first half, All-Star level play was to continue or even trend somewhere close through the rest of the season, there is no doubt that he would prove to be an upgrade at the position. But if the Marlins expect Walker Bueler in that exchange, there is zero chance the Dodgers would even entertain
    that sort of nonsense. The Dodgers still have another ML ready option at catcher already on the 40-man roster with Farmer. Smith could even be a slight possibility if he continues his domination of minor league pitching. He’s also versatile, able to play the infield if necessary. That fits the Dodgers M.O. for the ML roster to a T.

    But I think we need to stay aggressive in the Machado discussions until he’s in another uniform or the Orioles finally come to reality and accept a couple of our high level minor leaguers other than the few obvious untouchables.
    Maybe if the Orioles make Britton part of the deal, the Dodgers might then be willing to sweeten the pot with…
    May or Lux headlining the deal, Keibert Ruiz, Yadier Alvarez, and a sweetener(s)
    Or, simply both May/Lux, and possibly a sweetener(s)
    Neither scenario depletes our Farm. We’d still have a nice crop of youngsters

    I was at Game 7 of the W.S. last year! The time to win another is NOW!!!


    1. If no Machado, Dozier would be a decent consolation piece for the right price. That would still leave us room to add a reliever or 2


    2. I really don’t see the front office giving up Lux, May and Ruiz in a deal for two rentals. Just about the only deal I could see them giving up those three plus Alvarez plus a sweetener would be for someone like deGrom and I’m not sure that would be enough to convince the Mets to do it. With regard to Dozier, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him at the Ravine in the next week or two. I don’t think we’ll pull the trigger on Machado because someone will give the O’s something they like better.


      1. Turns out I wasn’t too far off as to the prospects we gave up for Machado. Diaz, May, and 3 others. Even with the players going to Baltimore in the trade, our minor league system still has a lot of quality players. There’s nothing wrong with going all in while the window to win is open. Machado will be a huge addition to the middle of the lineup. Well worth the risk in my opinion


  11. What do you propose be done with Grandal in this situation? Yes, Realmuto is a better player. But LA cannot carry 3 catchers on the 25 man roster, so Grandal figures to be leaving in this situation, given that he is a free agent (one I do not think LA will make any real effort to retain) and that Barnes can play other positions. Possible that the Marlins would take him as part of the deal (and no doubt attempt to spin him elsewhere), but this trade really doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Keibert Ruiz is regarded by many as the top catching prospect in baseball, and has been mentioned in prospective deals for the Met’s Noah Syndergaarde and Jacob deGrom. I don’t think LA would be willing to include him in this type of trade. He is 19 years old, playing AA ball, and holding his own. Will Smith may be more versatile, but LA needs to think long and hard before they give up a guy that might be the next Pudge Rodriguez. Even if they go with Smith, (who figures to be ready no later than 2020), he’d then be blocked by Realmuto behind the plate.


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