Rockies’ Current Roster Situation
The other catchers that the Rockies currently have on the 40-man roster are Chris Rabago, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy. Rabago doesn’t have major league service time, and hasn’t played above Class-A, so he’s won’t be in contention for a big league spot behind the plate. Wolters has never been an exceptional hitter during his tenure behind the plate with the Rockies, currently holding just a .249/.335/.336 career slashline in two seasons. He is supported by fielding metrics, though. He has a .993 career fielding percentage and a 35 percent CS%, which is 8 percent higher than league average, according to baseball-reference.
Murphy finds himself in a unique situation. He is highly regarded by the front office and was expected to compete for a 2017 Opening Day roster spot, but sustained an injury during Spring Training. He was brought up to the Rockies later in the season, but was sent back down to Triple-A after hitting just .042/.115/.083 in 12 games. He’s played in just 44 big league games overall, and his overall lack of offensive success (.214/.289/.485 career slashline) makes him an risky option to shoulder significant big league playing time in a season of expected contention.
Solution: Trade for JT Realmuto
Iannetta will obviously be expected to take on significant playing time, but the remaining options Colorado has on its roster for a No. 2 catcher are shrouded in uncertainty.
The Miami Marlins have showed that they are prepared to dive headfirst into their rebuild, and have done so already, after sending Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis and Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. The Rockies should help them along in the process by giving Derek Jeter and Company a call about their prized backstop, JT Realmuto. Not only would he become at least the second-best hitting catcher the Rockies have on their roster, but he would be a valuable fielding catcher at Coors Field as well.
In a 3.6 WAR 2017 season, Realmuto hit .287 with a .783 OPS and 17 home runs in 141 games. He drove in 65 runs, and his park-adjusted OPS+ was 109, second only to Iannetta’s 114 if he were a Rockie.
As for fielding metrics, he owns a career .993 fielding percentage, and has thrown out 32 percent of attempted base-stealers, four percent higher than the league average.
Don’t get me wrong, Realmuto would come with quite the price tag. MLB Network reported that Miami, in talks with the Washington Nationals about a Realmuto deal, wanted at least one of their top prospects in return. The Rockies would likely have to include at least one of Brendan Rodgers, Riley Pint or Ryan McMahon in return in a potential trade, and many would understandably decline giving up key pieces of the future for the now. At only 26 years old, though, he could turn into a controllable centerpiece for a contending team. The Rockies’ contention window is right now, and they should do everything they can to go all in for the first World Series in franchise history.