Phillies rumors: Team tapping into the catching market

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Catcher J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins is seen in the top of 2nd inning during the game four between Japan and MLB All Stars at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima on November 13, 2018 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Catcher J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins is seen in the top of 2nd inning during the game four between Japan and MLB All Stars at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima on November 13, 2018 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies are tapping into the catching market, signing Drew Butera to a minor-league deal and inquiring about J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins.

After a year of so-so production from the catching position, the Phillies are looking to make an upgrade at the position. They signed of Drew Butera to a minor-league deal and reportedly checked with the Marlins about a trade for J.T. Realmuto.

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that the club checked in on Realmuto as they keep an eye on some of the better players available, as most clubs do. Rosenthal said that Realmuto remaining available for so long prompted the inquiry.

This is not the first time Philadelphia has asked about Realmuto as they reportedly did at the beginning of December. However, it was reported that the club does not have enough assets to trade for Realmuto. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports disputed this notion, stating the Marlins do indeed like Philadelphia’s prospects and Jorge Alfaro.

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Alfaro would likely be the centerpiece to acquire Realmuto, along with some of the top prospects in the system. Trade discussions would likely involve discussion of a contract extension as Realmuto will be a free agent after the 2020 season.

If the Phils do indeed pursue this further, they will have some competition for Realmuto. Heyman noted that the Dodgers, Padres, Reds, Braves, and Rays are still involved in discussions.

The Reds and Rays both reportedly made some progress in discussions, but they didn’t lead anywhere.

Turning back towards Butera, the team brought him in on a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. He will make $1.3 million if he is on the major-league roster and can opt out after March 21 if he is not on the roster.

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Butera will likely compete with Andrew Knapp for the backup catcher position. He’s rather unspectacular offensively with a career .201/.258/.299 line and 54 OPS+. His value will likely come as a veteran mentor to Alfaro, as long as he is still here.