The Dodgers are linked to J.T. Realmuto as they try to figure out their catcher for the 2019 season. After yesterday’s James Paxton trade, it’s time to reevaluate the asking price for Realmuto.
The Dodgers need a catcher for 2019, the Marlins are trying to sell their best asset left which is J.T. Realmuto so naturally there is a great fit. Last week it was reported that the Marlins asking price was a cornerstone player like Cody Bellinger and an additional prospect or two. The asking price seemed high then and it is even higher now after the Yankees acquired ace lefty James Paxton on Monday.
The Mariners got the Yankees’ number one prospect in Justus Sheffield (31st overall in MLB), the Yankees’ 22nd ranked prospect in Erik Swanson and an unranked prospect in outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. For a comparable package, those same prospect ranks in the Dodger organization would be Alex Verdugo, shortstop Ronny Brito, and an unranked outfielder like Cody Thomas.
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While the Yankees farm is a top ten farm system in baseball, the Dodgers farm is also in the top ten and pretty comparable. The Dodgers should not need to give up Cody Bellinger for J.T. Realmuto as Bellinger is a proven power hitter and worth more than a pitching prospect who potentially could be a good player in the major leagues. Alex Verdugo would be a fair asking price since he is the Dodgers’ number one prospect but after him, the prospect tier should drop.
While the argument for Realmuto’s asking price is that he is one of the top catchers in baseball at a time when the quality of catchers in baseball is lacking, the same case could be made for James Paxton. On the trade market there are not many aces available and when healthy, Paxton is an ace with some of the best stuff any left-hander in baseball possesses. The only other comparable option the trade block would be Blake Snell if the Rays truly wanted to deal him.
The Dodgers should not need to give up more than one of the following as a headliner in a trade for Realmuto: Alex Verdugo, Will Smith, Dustin May, Gavin Lux. Keibert Ruiz was left off because he is the one Dodger prospect that seems to be untouchable as he should be. Will Smith would be easier to trade if Realmuto was acquired since the Dodgers would still have Ruiz, Connor Wong, and Austin Barnes.
The most obvious headliner for Realmuto is Alex Verdugo. The Dodgers haven’t shown total faith in him yet and they have a crowded outfield as it is. The Marlins are also looking for cheap controllable MLB ready talent and Verdugo fits the bill. If the Marlins ask for Cody Bellinger again the Dodgers should promptly hang up the phone, after the James Paxton deal the asking price for an all-star with two years of control was set.