Phillies acquire J.T. Realmuto, may help them land Bryce Harper, too

J.T. Realmuto

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

"It's hard to acquire top players at any position, especially catcher", Klentak said. Realmuto over his career has a.848 slugging percentage on the road and.678 at home.

Even as the Harper and Machado sweepstakes lurch into their fourth months - with numerous usual, big-money suspects (Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs) apparently taking a pass, and the void filled with some dark horses and mystery teams (Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants) - much of the industry takes it as an inevitability that the Phillies will walk away with one of them. He smashed 21 home runs to go along with 74 runs batted in and a.277 average.

The Phillies' winter began with Middleton, their owner, telling USA Today he may be "a little bit stupid" with his free agent spending this winter, and it ended - well, there's a good chance it hasn't ended at all.

The J.T. Realmuto trade - one that has been in the works for months - is finally complete. All reports indicate the trade will include top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. "But we have every reason to believe this is the type of person we want to represent the Phillies". Elbow and collarbone injuries limited his workload and kept him out of Arizona Fall League. With spring training opening next week for teams across the majors, trade talks intensified.

Sanchez, a Dominican with a 100-mph fastball and excellent command, has a 2.48 ERA in 48 minor league games over four seasons. But he also struck out 138 times in 377 at-bats. After Realmuto notched the go-ahead single in a Marlins victory over the Nationals last season, Harper declared, "If we had that guy, we would have won".

And to give Phillies fans even more to dream about.

"I've received so many calls and texts in the last couple of hours since the news broke of this from people who have been around Realmuto talking about how much pitchers love throwing to him", Klentak said, "how much confidence they have to throw a ball in the dirt because they know he'll block it".

Harper, in particular, appears to be a Realmuto fan.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak had high praise for Realmuto after the acquisition. "A pitcher who we think can develop and lead a championship rotation", Hill said.

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