They acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and worldwide pool money.
"I think J.T. Realmuto's the best catcher in baseball", general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday in a conference call. All four National League East teams showed interest in Realmuto at some point over the past year. So it would behoove the Phillies to try to sign him to a long-term deal this offseason, as opposed to next, when it may cost even more to secure him past the 2020 season.
"The deal brings closure to one of the most speculated trade scenarios in years", writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Arguably the best backstop in the game is now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, but according to Jon Heyman, the Marlins attempted to lock him up long term.
"This is another acquisition that demonstrates our commitment to winning", Klentak said, "I hope that demonstration would be appealing to free agents". They effectively replaced Realmuto with a Major League talent at catcher, acquired a top pitching prospect, added some depth, and perhaps most importantly, gave themselves more financial flexibility to chase global talent.
The move also means the Marlins can look to add a veteran arm in the bullpen and potentially another veteran for bench depth. He would check in periodically and said the talks with Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill didn't "heat up" until Sunday.
The J.T. Realmuto trade - one that has been in the works for months - is finally complete. A rebuilding project for the perennial also-rans will probably continue for several years under CEO Derek Jeter, whose group bought the franchise after the 2017 season. He becomes the Marlins' top prospect. Still, the team is confident he would be ready for spring training. He set career highs last season in home runs (21), RBI (74) and slugging (.484) en route to his first MLB All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger Award.
He was by far the team's most valuable asset and the most marketable face. The team added both Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson recently in low cost/high reward deals that could pan out and help this team win more than 63 games as it did previous year.
The reason for that is that the Marlins asking price has been extremely high, mainly because they are unhappy with the returns they got for the other stars they traded a year ago like Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
From the Dodgers, Miami wanted first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger. The Rays had outfield prospects it could part with. He hit.262 with 10 homers in his first full major league season a year ago. He has a 2.48 ERA in 48 minor league games over four seasons but pitched just 46 2/3 innings in Single A last season due to right elbow inflammation.