Colorado Rockies: Why J.T. Realmuto needs to be on the roster

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 4: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins hits a home run in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 4: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins hits a home run in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Rumors around Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto have been swirling for more than a year now. He was supposedly on the block last offseason for a bit when Derek Jeter and the Marlins were conducting their fire sale, and he seemed to be on the block for the entirety of the 2018 season. Right when the season ended, he was one of the first names to come up again.

It’s not too often that an All-Star level catcher becomes available, let alone one who is right smack in the middle of his prime, but Realmuto is, and he needs to be the Colorado Rockies starting catcher in 2019 and beyond.

If you’ve paid any attention to articles that I’ve written, you know that I and countless other Rockies fans were none too pleased with the play of Colorado’s catching corps during the 2018 season. I found it very frustrating that with solid options available via trade that there was nothing done to improve it during the season. Well, here is the Rockies’ chance to not only improve the catcher’s spot, but improve the entire team as a whole to the point where they are a serious World Series contender.

If you don’t already know, Realmuto is a star. Realmuto and Salvador Perez of the Royals are probably the top two overall catchers in all of baseball and Realmuto is developing into one of the better all around players in the game.

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The 27-year-old played in 125 games in 2018. Among qualified catchers, he finished first in batting average (.277), second in on-base percentage (.340), first in runs scored (74), third in home runs (21), and second in RBI (74). He was first in WAR among all catchers at 4.8, and was 25th in all of baseball. And, on top of it all, he’s a very good fielder, finishing the season with a .992 fielding percentage, and also threw out 38% of would-be base stealers. To put that in perspective, Chris Iannetta threw out 14% of the would-be base stealers in 2018.

And one thing you have to remember in all of this is that Realmuto played for a Marlins team that was in the middle of a full-blown tank. If you put him on a team that is expected to contend from start to finish, and he’d be able to hit at Coors Field, you could be looking at a player capable of things we haven’t seen from a catcher since late-2000s Joe Mauer.

The one thing that would make Rockies fans cringe even a little bit would be what the Rockies would have to give up. Now, I’m going to preface this by saying that they could trade anyone except Brendan Rodgers and we should be happy … but it could still hurt.

If the Rockies were to trade for him, they would have two guaranteed years of control, and that will drive the price up even more. If you look back at the Marcell Ozuna trade that the Marlins made last offseason in which they traded a guy coming off a career-best season, in the middle of his prime, with two years of control, it could end up being very similar, in terms of what goes back to Miami, no matter who trades for Realmuto.

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In the Ozuna trade, St. Louis ended up trading two top prospects back to Miami, both of whom had Major League experience, and two others who were solid Double- and Triple-A prospects, who ended up having good years in 2018 in Miami’s system. I believe that Miami will value Realmuto higher than they valued Ozuna, so it may take a bit more to get him.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic suggested that it would take Peter Lambert and Garrett Hampson. It would be extremely tough for me to part with Lambert, but for a player like Realmuto, you do it. Hampson would be someone that I’d include in any deal … not because he’s not a good player, because he is, but because he’s someone you can afford to part with and not really feel it in the long run.

If I’m putting a trade together, I’m thinking the likes of Riley Pint, who hasn’t quite lived up to the fourth overall pick status, but is still extremely young with a lot of upside and a fastball that can touch 100 MPH. From there, I’d still trade Hampson and then throw in a Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy type to sweeten it, and maybe a lower level prospect.

It’s all speculation at this point, but it seems that Rockies have a shot at getting Realmuto, and getting a player like him could catapult the team to a height that the franchise has never experienced.

Next. Predictions on what could happen with Colorado's free agents and others. dark

Let me know on Twitter who you would give up for Realmuto at @tysoncrocker2.