Dodgers: Acquiring J.T. Realmuto Would Cap a Strong Off-Season
The Dodgers officially introduced AJ Pollock as the newest member of the team yesterday at fan fest. Now Andrew Friedman needs to cap a strong off-season by acquiring J.T. Realmuto.
The Dodgers have had a solid off-season so far shoring up their bullpen with the addition of Joe Kelly and upgrading their outfield by signing AJ Pollock. The team even traded for a solid backup catcher in Russell Martin which cost them virtually nothing with Blue Jays picking up most of the tab.
While the team did trade away Yasiel Puig, they acquired two legit prospects in the trade so Andrew Friedman has done a good job improving the Dodgers’ Major League roster and adding to the farm system. Now it’s time for Friedman to cap off the off-season by trading for all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto. The latest rumors have trade talks heating up with the Dodgers being one of the main teams involved.
While Realmuto is not one of the best defensive catchers, he is easily one of the top offensive catchers in the game. Last season the all-star hit .277 with twenty-one home runs. Although Realmuto has not hit lefties too well over the last few seasons, there are reasons for optimism. In 2018, J.T. hit just .204 against left-handed pitching but in 2017 he hit a much more effective .283 with an OPS over .800 against southpaws.
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Since breaking into the big leagues with the Marlins, Realmuto has alternated good and bad seasons against left-handed pitching. He would still provide a big offensive boost over Austin Barnes and Russell Martin who make up the Dodgers’ catching depth chart for now. After stealing Yasmani Grandal’s starting role in 2017, Austin Barnes struggled last season hitting just .205 with a .619 OPS.
Part of a possible J.T. Realmuto deal is what the Dodgers plan to do with him over the long term. J.T. is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season but the Dodgers could try to sign him to a long term deal which would make it much easier to part with Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith in a trade. If the Dodgers view Realmuto as a short term stopgap then the team is better off dealing away the lower ranked Will Smith, rather than Ruiz.
At a time when the quantity of quality catchers around baseball is at an all-time low, there are not many options to upgrade at catcher. The Dodgers will either need to ride out a possible lack of offense at catcher for a season, or they will need to go and acquire J.T. Realmuto. If Andrew Friedman can cash in a few prospects for Realmuto then it will be a great way to cap off a strong off-season.