Updated: 3:20 p.m.
The Phillies and Marlins on Thursday completed a trade that brings All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia.
Top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, catcher Jorge Alfaro and pitcher Will Stewart head to Miami. The Phillies also sent international slot money to the Marlins.
Adding Realmuto, a top offensive and defensive catcher, improves the Phillies’ winter dramatically. They have already added shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson. And, of course, the team is still very much in the hunt for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the two mega stars on the free-agent market. First baseman Rhys Hoskins recently said he believed the Phillies would land either Machado or Harper. Doing that would take the Phillies' impressive winter to a higher level and could make them the favorite in the NL East.
The Phillies were linked to Realmuto during the winter meetings two months ago. At the time, a member of the Marlins organization said the Phillies didn’t have the prospects to pull off a deal. But after months of trying to move Realmuto, the Marlins found what they liked with the Phillies.
Alfaro, 25, was the Phillies’ regular catcher last year. The addition of Realmuto made him expendable. Sanchez, 20, was a big key to the deal. The Phillies’ top pitching prospect features a big fastball and exceptional control. However, he missed significant time with an elbow injury last season.
Realmuto turns 28 in March and won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season. He hit .277 with 30 doubles, 21 homers, 74 RBIs and an .825 OPS for the Marlins last season. He is considered an excellent handler of pitchers.
Realmuto has seen young stars and former teammates such Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna get shipped out by the rebuilding Marlins and was eager to be the next guy to go.
The Dodgers, Reds, Padres, Mets and Braves were all considered top suitors for Realmuto earlier this winter.
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