The 27-year-old Realmuto was selected to his first All-Star game last season and won his first Silver Slugger award. The concept of restocking a bare cupboard is unfamiliar to this franchise which has smartly used free agency at key moments to find its way to a pair of World Series victories. But the Phillies' main targets have been the two most sought after free agents this offseason, Harper and Manny Machado.
"I think the upgrade is pretty significant", Philadelphia general manager Matt Klentak said during a conference call with reporters. All four National League East teams showed interest in Realmuto at some point over the previous year. A potential extension hasn't come up just yet.
Meanwhile, both Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar showcase appetizing numbers under the age column while already representing superior options at the plate (in favor of J.T. Realmuto). If anything, Marlins Park should help him keep more balls in the park, as it ranked dead-last in HR Park factor for right-handed batters and 53rd for left-handed batters. The Marlins want four total players and are unsurprisingly trying to pry loose some of the Phils' best remaining farm assets.
The Phillies made their latest splash without having to be "a little bit stupid" in their spending - owner John Middleton's famous words at the outset of the offseason - unless you count the cost they gave up in talent for Realmuto: catcher Jorge Alfaro, top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and minor league left-hander Will Stewart. Elbow and collarbone injuries limited his workload and kept him out of Arizona Fall League.
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The Marlins got the deal done six days before their pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
Sanchez, 20, has a plus-plus fastball with two above-average breaking pitches. But he also struck out 138 times in 377 at-bats. "It's hard to acquire top players at any position, especially at the catcher position". But it was only within the past week that the Phillies resurfaced, swooping in to acquire the much-coveted catcher. Realmuto, who will turn 28 next month, went from playing for one of the least financially motivated clubs in the sport to one of the deepest-pocketed teams in baseball.
In the end, it was the Marlins who stood firm in their desires in a trade, What started out with as many as 12 teams looking to play "Let's Make A Deal" the demand of Major League Baseball players prospects appeared to be too high for one player.
"This is another acquisition that demonstrates our commitment to winning", Klentak said, "I hope that demonstration would be appealing to free agents".