The 2018-2019 off-season was wildly speculative for the Dodgers. There was Manny Machado chatter, non-stop Bryce Harper talk, and of course JT Realmuto discussions.
As the Dodgers start a series in Miami, we revisit the trade that never happened.
The Derek Jeter led Marlins have faced a lot of criticism since purchasing the team in 2017. In less than two full calendar years, Miami has traded or lost what, on paper today, looks like a playoff contending team.
- Dee Gordon
- Derek Dietrich
- Marcell Ozuna
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Christian Yelich
And of course, JT Realmuto.
Ozuna has hit 45 home runs over the last two seasons (when healthy), Stanton is a perennial All-Star, and MVP candidate (…when healthy), and Yelich won the NL MVP in 2018 (and may be en route to defending that crown).
For those transactions, the Marlins have been widely panned as losers in the trades — almost immediately — so this past off-season, they looked to finally win a trade.
And they looked at Los Angeles, coming off consecutive World Series losses, as desperate enough to help them win.
Undoubtedly, Realmuto was a prize target last off-season, and a position player in an area of extreme weakness for LA after letting Yasmani Grandal walk away. At the time the 40-man roster was Austin Barnes, Rocky Gale, and some rookies making waves behind them, but not quite ready for prime time.
The Asking Price
Now, Miami at the time likely could have pried away one of Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz along with perhaps a Joc Pederson and MiLB arm, but instead they attempted to win big immediately.
The rumored request was “starting at somebody like a Cody Bellinger.”
It would take one of those guys (Puig, Verdugo) and Bellinger.
This, of course, was before the infamous Kyle Farmer trade that netted the Dodgers two current top prospects.
After Realmuto was traded to Philadelphia essentially for scrap metal, more reports on Miami’s asking price for Los Angeles came out.
One clarification regarding Realmuto talks: while Marlins sought two key pieces to headline the package for JT, once the dodgers declined to include Bellinger, Miami wanted 3 big prospects from LA, not just 2 since they were all minor leaguers: Lux plus May plus 1 of Ruiz/Smith
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 11, 2019
It was Bellinger and Verdugo or Puig, plus top prospects; or 3 of the Dodgers top 5 prospects at the time.
Realmuto has had a fine year in 2019, with 15 home runs, 57 RBI, and a .272 batting average to go along with exceptional defense. At the same time, Cody Bellinger has slugged his way to the top of NL MVP conversations, and Will Smith is now homering every 9.5 at-bats in the big leagues (small sample size).
Moreover, Dustin May is being primed for a postseason rotation spot, and Gavin Lux is hitting beach balls in Triple-A.
As the Dodgers find themselves going to Miami with Belli and the Fresh Prince in tow, they do so as the true winners of the JT Realmuto sweepstakes.