J.T. Realmuto is one of the most rapidly growing stars in Major League Baseball. He's also currently on the Miami Marlins, meaning he could be in a different uniform at any time now.
In one of the more surprising Giants rumors this offseason, Fancred's Jon Heyman reported Thursday that the team has their eyes on the All-Star catcher.
To update: mets, #SFGiants are among others to check in on realmuto in recent weeks (preference is to trade JT out of division but it's not quite an absolute) https://t.co/yv9DFZ21mk— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 30, 2018
Trading for Realmuto right now makes more sense for the Giants than you might think, and it would cause quite the domino effect on the organization. It starts with Buster Posey, but goes much deeper.
Realmuto is coming off his first All-Star campaign where he hit .277 with 21 home runs and an .825 OPS over 125 games played. The past two seasons, the 27-year-old has hit .278 while averaging 19 home runs and a 4.0 bWAR. He also plays the same position as Buster Posey.
There's no denying Posey wasn't the same in 2018 at the plate due to a hip injury that can come from his nine years behind the plate in the big leagues. His injury robbed him of any power where he only hit five home runs with a career-low .382 slugging percentage in 105 games. The good news is, he appears to be ready for spring training and is walking normally two and a half months after hip surgery.
For years, fans have been pushing for Posey to move to first base, and while having him in the squat certainly brings the team more value as he's still an elit catcher, it may be finally time for change.
Posey turns 32 years old at the end of March to start the 2019 season, while Realmuto turns 28 nine days before him, and the current Marlin has way less miles on his legs as a four-year catcher in the majors. While the sample is obviously much smaller, the numbers show Posey is a better hitter when at first base.
For his career, Posey is a .334 hitter at first base with a .520 slugging percentage compared to a .300 hitter with a .456 slugging percentage as a catcher. Mind you, he has played 661 more games behind the dish than at the bag.
To move Posey to first base, the team would have to explore trade options for Brandon Belt, who can pick 10 teams annually to put on a no-trade list. No matter where you sit on the Belt Wars, a Gold Glove caliber first baseman who is a great hitter when healthy would certainly have plenty of suitors on the trade market.
The final piece to this puzzle is the Giants' top prospect, catcher Joey Bart. If he wouldn't have to be a part of the deal, trading for Realmuto would actually be perfect for the team's No. 2 overall pick from the 2018 MLB Drft.
Bart impressed with his raw power and strong arm for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in his minor league debut where he hit 13 home runs in 45 games. While people want Bart in San Francisco tomorrow, the trade would allow him to develop more and ease the pressure of a top pick.
Realmuto is under team control through the 2020 season, making him a free agent in 2021. Here comes Bart. A trade with the Marlins would essentially bring the Giants an All-Star, extend Posey's career, and fit with the timeline of their top prospect who will be on a cheap contract right when their departing catcher hits the market.