The Phillies are reportedly close to adding catcher JT Realmuto from the Miami Marlins in exchange for a pretty hefty package of pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez (No. 27 overall on MLB Pipeline), catcher Jorge Alfaro and a third or fourth piece that is yet to be reported.
The impact here, other than Realmuto going to an NL East division rival, is that the Braves are going to miss out on one of the most obvious upgrades available on the market. They will now hope Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann hold up for 162 games behind the plate.
If you don’t believe they’re going to pay for Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or Dallas Keuchel – and why would you at this point? – there are few options to significantly improve the roster as we near the start of Spring Training. Craig Kimbrel seems possible, but it remains to be seen if the Braves would actually spend the money to make a reunion happen despite the front office’s lip service all winter. A closer can only move the needle so much.
This isn’t to say the Braves won’t be able to contend in 2019. They absolutely can. This team won 90 games a year ago, added a potential impact piece in Donaldson and should see growth from the wealth of young players and prospects in the organization There is a reason the Nationals, Phillies and Mets were chasing the Braves last year. All three clubs have added impact pieces, though, and there are legitimate questions for Atlanta all around the diamond. Most projection systems and Vegas oddsmakers — for whatever it’s worth — will have the Braves finishing 3rd or even 4th in the East.
We’ll see if the Phillies and Marlins are finally able to cross the finish line, but all indications are they will. This one is going to sting.