J.T. Realmuto
Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak called J.T. Realmuto the best catcher in baseball. He better hope that’s the case in 2019 (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Matt Klentak and the Phillies organization shook up the baseball world by trading for J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins. There’s no question that the Phillies gave up a ton to acquire Realmuto. Sixto Sanchez is the top prospect in the Philadelphia organization. He’s considered a top 20 prospect in all of baseball. Add in a major league catcher in Jorge Alfaro and it makes this trade risky for Philadelphia. However, Matt Klentak believes he is acquiring a star.

“I think J.T. Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball, so I think the upgrade is pretty significant,” Klentak said. “It’s hard to acquire top players at any position and especially at the catcher position. We knew that if we were going to access J.T. that we were going to have to give up some talent in return.

“We do like Jorge a lot and we think he has a bright career ahead of him. We think he’s a great kid and a hard worker and it’s tough to see him go, but this is about us getting better and acquiring the best catcher in baseball and we’re really excited about that.”

Realmuto did lead all catchers in OPS (.825). No question that he may just be the best offensive catcher in the game. He also hit .277 to go along with 21 home runs. However, when you look at his pitch framing numbers, Realmuto doesn’t come close to the top of the leader board. It’s why I’ll rock with guys like Sandy Leon and pay a quarter of the price every day of the week. Pitching wins and when you have an average defender behind the plate, it makes their lives that much harder. Tough price to pay for a guy who hits but doesn’t hit THAT well.

Was it worth trading Sixto Sanchez? Klentak admits he was tough to give up.

“It was tough to trade Sixto Sanchez,” he said late Thursday afternoon, a few hours after completing the trade that sent the Phillies’ top prospect to the Marlins for all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto. “And it was tough to trade Will Stewart, too.”

How much better does this make the Phillies? Better, but I’m not sure how much better. What we do know is the NL East is must watch TV. The Mets, Phillies, Braves, and Nationals have all improved this offseason.