Realmuto to Phillies Ups the Ante on Lethargic Dodgers Offseason

Mere days away from the beginning of Spring Training, the Dodgers have officially missed out on one of their biggest offseason targets. All-Star Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and an international bonus slot.

With Realmuto heading to the land of Rocky and Utley, a particularly drawn-out chapter of a brutal offseason has finally come to a close. As far back as November, L.A. was widely expected to acquire him to shore up their gaping hole behind the plate. However, the talks stalled when Miami insisted on Cody Bellinger as the asking price in return, a deal-breaker as Bellinger was truly the only untouchable outfielder in an offseason where nearly all of them have been traded or rumored to be.

In my view, losing out on Realmuto has both positive and negative implications for the Dodgers’ 2019 season. The negative side is immediate. While I do believe Yasmani Grandal’s departure to Milwaukee was ultimately best for both himself and Los Angeles, it nonetheless meant the loss of a power bat and top-shelf pitch framing. Barring Austin Barnes rekindling his 2017 potential or Russell Martin replicating Matt Kemp’s 2018 comeback, the team will be much weaker at catcher this season.

On the upside, Realmuto was truly the easiest piece to miss out on given he was only an urgent necessity for 2019. As we all know, catching prospects like Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith are coming up the pipeline fast, and could thus improve the position internally. Given the package Philadelphia sent, we can take solace in not having to deal either of them, as well as Bellinger. It’d be one thing if Realmuto was an all-time great catcher on par with Johnny Bench, Mickey Cochrane, Gary Carter or Mike Piazza, but good as he is, it’s not a huge missed opportunity in the long run.

However, passing on Realmuto is only truly acceptable if the team pulls the trigger on at least one big move before the season begins. They could shore up the rotation from the get-go by making a trade for Corey Kluber, the likelihood of which grows dimmer by the day. They could finally solidify their outfield and lineup by winning the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, a possibility reignited by his recent talks with the division rival Giants. As much as I’d prefer to move on from Johnny No-Hustle, bringing back Manny Machado would give them the best infield in the game and help ease Corey Seager back in at second.

At this very moment, though, the Dodgers’ offseason looks all the worse by missing out on Realmuto. They need to act fast, for if they roll into the 2019 season without at least one elite acquisition, they will have unforgivably squandered an opportune offseason.

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  1. No on malcontents or narcissists in the clubhouse! Don’t give up slight farm system for Kluber, not to say you don’t make one more play for him. Play Verdugo or trade him for Kluber I feel he is a better fit in right field than Harper, see my first comment. Play Taylor/Kike at short while waiting for Seager. The other can Second or sit dependent upon situation. Play Freeze more at first, need the line drives. Have the new hitting coach show this team how to hit HARD line drives. I could go on

  2. Completely false and a misguided view point. The Dodger’s filled their main void by acquiring an impact RH bat, w the 2nd best RH free agent available. That same player is also better all around then Harper. Only weakness in this team is now at C as stated, but both players are rated top 10 defensively in MLB, and our line-up is deep enough their lesser bats won’t be a huge issue. If people crave “star” names just for the sake of it, go be a fan of the Yankees.

    1. So you are guaranteeing Pollock will play 135 games and get 500 at bats this year? Didn’t think so. He’s also bringing a lifetime .226 batting average at Chavez into the mix. The damage he always did against us was in Arizona. BTW, if we face the Yankees in the 2019 World Series their bullpen will eat out free swingers alive.

    2. Weaknesses include catcher, second base and still right-handed hitting. Pollock is better than Harper? Since he can’t seem to stay healthy that is a bold claim.

    3. Ryan, this lineup is still too LH heavy a far as the offense goes and a great deal of our roster is full of marginal type players made by that platooning that most likely will be done this year too because these players for the most part are only effective against one side of the pitcher and not both. AJ Pollock is a great signing but he by himself cannot be expected to right this ship against the LHP that Dodgers will see lots of. It’s not fair to him or any one single player to correct what will be most likely a continual problem with this offense. As for the catchers, we still should hopefully be able to hide those Mendoza hitting catchers for this year or most of it anyway but wss.

    4. Agree. The cost for Harper and Realmuto were too high and the Dodgers were right to not pay for them. Yes we need an everyday catcher, but not at this price. I disagree with the characterization of “lethargic” off season. After all, this is not a last place team that needed to be rebuilt, this is a two in a row WS team.

  3. If we can get Harper on a 3 year deal great. What about Detroit’s Iglesias. His bat is not all that great but his play in the field, no one’s better.

  4. This Realmuto trade also showed one true fact. And that is Marlins wanted more from the Dodgers than they ended up getting from the Phillies, as is he case with every trade involving the Dodgers. Teams demand more from us than they do from any other team and it’s just the way it is.

    1. Uh Paul. We don’t even know what the Marlins wanted after they got over bellinger. And philly gave up a catcher far superior to anything we have and a prospect rated higher than any one we have on the prospect list..and it continues to be a misconception that we have catching prospects a year away. One cant seem to hit at the minor league level and the other is 22 years old.when was the last time you saw a 22/23 year old first string catcher? And when was the last great catching prospect that actually made it. Tough position for a youngster.

      1. Gordon60, a few years back we did have a loaded farm system that most teams wanted those top prospects from. it was known our farm system at that time was the envy of other teams. But you are correct that now we don’t have those prospects rated as high as others because if you have been noticing in the last few years Dodgers have dealt away several good ones for trade deadline rentals. I am not sure if you ever posted on that Dodgers .com message board when it was in existence last year but many did inform me of that fact about teams wanting more from us than most other teams. So if I am understanding what you are saying, then Dodgers should have done more to get a proven catcher to replace Grandal, as prospects Will Smith and Ruiz may be in over their heads at that young age when they get here.

        1. I have read all of the above comments, and for the most part, everyone has made a valid point!!!!! I agree with PaulDodgerFan1965 when he says we still need a right handed bat. Other writers have said our rookie catchers might be over-rated, while others state we need to after Kluber to solidify the rotation. I am of the mind that Harper wants to go to a WS contender, and that could mean us or the Yankees – not the Giants or Padres. That would give us an outfield of Belles, Verdugo and Harper; nothing matches that. And, his acquisition takes some pressure off of the catching position. Right now, it seems to be a battle of egos between Harper and Machado as to who signs first and for how much money. Too bad that it has come to this. If we were to get Harper, we would need to make room for him; trading Toles or Joc, maybe Brock Stewart, Yadier Alvarez in some package might be a direction to go. As I write this post, I am not keen on how the team is presently constituted. Go Blue!!!

          1. BLUE LOU! I concur with your last sentence here. Now just to correct ya a bit if Harper were to sign here with us, the OF would be Harper Pollock and Verdugo., maybe because an all LH hitting OF won’t cut it. To be sure a roster move or 2 to make room for Harper would then have to take place.

  5. Azul, please excuse my error!!!!! You are totally correct : I inadvertently included Belles in the outfield, when I should have written Pollock. Belles will go back to first, and, I assume, only be in the outfield if/when Pollock is taking a rest, etc. Thanks for that clarification. Have a great weekend, and tell PD Jr that I said hello. Go Blue Crew!!

  6. Question for Dodgers fan who have actually seen Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith(the two catchers highly regarded in the minors) play in the minors. Are these two Not ready for the Majors? What makes me uneasy is that our opening day catchers, Barnes and Martin, really Can’t hit better than .200-.240. Basically, the Dodgers have 2 automatic outs with the pitcher behind them! Correct me if I’m wrong.

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