Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Realmuto trade takeaways: Go get Bryce

Jack Fritz
February 07, 2019 - 4:32 pm

The sleeping giant is awakening.

On Thursday afternoon, the Phillies acquired the best catcher in baseball from the Miami Marlins in exchange for top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, starting catcher Jorge Alfaro, minor league left-hander Will Stewart and international slot money.

Here are four takeaways from the trade:

This could very well be the linchpin for Bryce Harper to come to Philadelphia:

I know this shouldn’t be the most important part in the acquisition of J.T Realmuto but it is. Realmuto and Bryce Harper are really close and Harper had basically been begging of the Nationals to acquire Realmuto for the past year.

He loves the guy.

"Bryce Harper loves J.T. Realmuto... If the Phillies get Realmuto, it could enhance their chance at getting Harper." -@JoeFrisaro

He’s been wanting to play with Realmuto for over a year now and now he has his chance. I legitimately think that Harper may have told the Phillies, go get my guy and I’ll come play with him.

If giving up a prospect of Sixto Sanchez’s caliber ultimately nets your Bryce Harper and J.T Realmuto this is a slam dunk win for the Phillies and I think this is very well what is happening here. The Phillies were out of the Realmuto sweepstakes only to jump in.

Feels like a Bryce bat signal.

J.T Realmuto RAKES on the road:

Realmuto was already the best catcher in baseball while playing 81 of his games at Marlins Park, one of the worst places to hit at in baseball.

Look at what happened to Christian Yelich when he left Marlins Park. He turned into the MVP in the National League and looking at the road splits for Realmuto we could see another breakout from a former Marlin.

The best catcher in baseball, who is leaving one of the worst hitting parks in the sport to come to one of the best, is going to enter into his prime in red pinstripes.

This is glorious.

Losing Sixto hurts, losing Alfaro does not

Sixto Sanchez, when healthy, is the best pitching prospect in the sport.

The problem is the injuries. They’ve limited him and I believe that people inside the Phillies organization were beginning to get worried about them. Still, the Phillies just sent, what some believe to be Pedro Martinez 2.0, to Miami for a 27 year old catcher with 2 years left on his deal. I do, however, fully expect the Phillies to engage in extension talks with Realmuto to ensure that he’s here past those two years.

It’s a hefty price.

On the other hand, I’m not totally worried about Jorge Alfaro coming back to bite the Phillies in the butt. Alfaro has all the tools in the world to be a top catcher in the league, but if you watched him last year, I’m not sure how you could really bank on him turning into a player of Realmuto’s caliber.

To me, Alfaro was a showcase or statcast player, big time tools but didn’t totally have a feel for the game or an idea of what to do at the plate. It was very much, swing hard and hope to make contact. That led to Alfaro ranking 404 out of 405 in whiff% last year. He couldn’t make contact. Sure, when he made contact the ball flew but it was rare. He also struck out A LOT. Alfaro was always a guy you believed on, but it’s hard to see a guy that strikes out as much as he does become serviceable at the plate.

I think Alfaro’s defense was better than some are giving him credit for. He was one of the best framers in the sport last year, however, he struggled at blocking the ball, often falling to one knee to try and do it.

Once again, the tools are all there for Alfaro, but there are a lot of holes in his game.

Will Stewart projects to be a nice lefty specialist in the coming years. He has a nasty curveball from the left-side, but he’s nothing to be that worried about losing.

The Phillies aren’t messing around anymore:

If they add Harper to Realmuto, you have a lineup on paper, that is ready to do damage NOW and would be one of the deepest in all of baseball.

Switch out Maikel Franco with Mike Moustakas and you get even scarier.

Think about this:

McCutchen

Segura

Harper

Hoskins

Realmuto

Moustakas

Herrera

Nola

Hernandez

Tell me you’re not excited.

That has depth, on-base, power and balance.

Now it’s time to bring in Bryce. They’ve put themselves in position to do this.

Let’s get it done.

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