How much value would you be willing to give up in order to get a catcher that’s just reaching his prime? The same question will be asked of the Braves’ General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos. J.T. Realmuto, the player in question, is one of the hottest topics for this upcoming winter. Many teams are planning on offering the Marlins for him, and we’ll just have to sit and wait to see what Derek Jeter does. There’s been some talk of Yasmani Grandal being picked up by the Braves this offseason, but most of the talking has centered around a trade for J.T. Realmuto.
Nobody should expect Anthopoulos to give the Marlins the entire farm to acquire Realmuto, but I believe that he’ll throw a decent prospect package together. Although, he’ll have to take into consideration that he is trading within the division, so the cost may be a bit steeper than usual. For an above average catcher in a league where they are scarce, the Marlins may see some interesting trade inquiries thrown their way.
Trade #1 – William Contreras, Derian Cruz, Ian Anderson, and Kolby Allard for J.T. Realmuto
Ian Anderson and Kolby Allard are two prospects that are very close to getting up into the big leagues, while Contreras and Cruz may have some work to do before they get there. The loss of Allard and Anderson definitely impact the farm system, but it is no where near ruining it. The Braves still have many young pitchers, and these two pitchers are ones I haven’t been high on recently. Contreras, in a couple years, can fill the hole left by Realmuto. He’s been solid throughout his stint in the minor leagues, and he can be a star. Cruz is an uncertainty at this point. He has elite speed, but his plate discipline and his inconsistent at bats make him a risky investment. Besides, the Braves already have Ozzie Albies in the 2nd base slot, and he seems to be locked in that spot for the foreseeable future.
Trade #2 – Mike Soroka and Drew Waters for J.T. Realmuto
Look, I would be as unhappy as the next Braves fan if we traded away Mike Soroka. But, in this case, I think it’s essential if the Braves intend to contend for years to come. With the likes of Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, and Bryse Wilson, the pitching talent in the Braves’ farm system looks as if it will never go away. Even if Mike Soroka is the closest to being MLB ready, I think we can sacrifice one of our many pitching prospects for an above average catcher. Along with Realmuto’s amazing backstop skills, he brings a power bat, something the Braves desperately need in their lineup. Drew Waters is a phenomenal player, but there’s just no place in the outfield for him in the major leagues. With Acuña and Inciarte manning the outfield, I just can’t see Waters fitting in anywhere. Pache and Jenista are also waiting in the wings; and I expect Pache to be called up sometime during the next season.
Trade #3 – Austin Riley, Luiz Gohara, and Alex Jackson for J.T. Realmuto and Martín Prado
Austin Riley is a big loss for the Braves in this trade, but I believe that he produces enough trade value to make this deal work. Also, Johan Camargo, while not as big a star as Acuña or Albies, is silently proving himself worthy of a starting job in the major leagues. Luiz Gohara is still a great pitcher, but has a bit of a control and physical risk with that. He can throw very hard, regularly brushing triple digits, but still lacks control, especially on his changeup. I see him as a Bartolo Colon in the future: a bigger-bodied pitcher that may not have the best stuff, but can get the job done. Alex Jackson is the biggest risk in this trade, for he has had very inconsistent seasons. He will be more of a slugger instead of a hitter, which could provide a big boost to any lineup. Martín Prado, while he may not be the most appealing part of any trade, he does have significant value. For one, he brings a veteran presence to the clubhouse, something that the Braves found themselves lacking in the postseason. He also brings a reliable bench bat, something that is at the top of the list in the winter for Alex Anthopoulos. Lastly, he was on the Braves from 2006-2012, which means he’s already familiar with the atmosphere in Atlanta.
All in all, J.T. Realmuto could be a huge addition to this young Braves roster over the offseason. While Alex Anthopoulos may have to sacrifice some of the farm for him, I believe that it will be worth it so the Braves can continue to have playoff runs for years to come.