In the midst of rumors circulating around Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, which rise to $ 300 million, another name has been a constant source of speculation in this season of hot stoves. This player can not approach Harper or Machado in terms of star power and name value. Yet, due to his own talents and the sudden shortage of stars at his post, this player could offer a comparable value to the two free agents this year at the highest level over the next two seasons.

J.T. Realmuto, it is the time of your closeup.

The Marlins receiver has risen to the top of this week's list of trade candidates, particularly with the Mets and Cleveland, and appears to have clouded the talks over possible contracts for Noah Syndergaard and Corey Kluber. The Astros and Dodgers have been cited as potential trade leaders with Realmuto. The brave are in the mix with rumors, the Rays, the Padres and even the Reds are now possible dance partners. The most important obstacle to an exchange could be the insistence of the Marlins on the acquisition of one or more major leagues with three years or more of service in the major leagues as part of an exchange between Realmuto .

All things considered, the Marlins' demand – whether it's controllable major leagues or better hopes – seems very reasonable. While none of Realmuto's line-by-line numbers will blow you away, his full game has made him a popular product, as well as the best baseball receiver.

Realmuto played 125 games last season, averaging .277 / .340 / .484, 26% better than the league average after adjusting for Marlins Park. Combine these excellent offensive numbers with defensive contributions that rank well above the league average, based on the above-average Prospectus baseball field rankings (which includes scoring, blocking, and throwing statistics), and you get a very good receiver.

But the context is everything. While Realmuto may not have hit like peak Mike Piazza or caught like Pudge Rodriguez, his strong bat, his playable defense and his durability have still been better than four wins over replacement (in using the version of this statistic that you prefer). Measure Realmuto's overall numbers last season and the last three seasons, and you get a shocking result: he's brought more value than Harper, the guy who might be about to win more than any baseball player.

This comparison, more than anything else, shows how Harper is about to become uberwealthy largely thanks to his potential and his 2015 season of Ted Williamsian. The value of Realmuto is more relevant than other sensors in the league. In 2018, he crushed them all.

More than the current value, Realmuto's two years of team control offer additional potential. At 27, he should be in his heyday, well below the thresholds of play that often undermine the capacity of overworked captors.

With every free market victory for around $ 9 million, and Realmuto planning to stay around four wins over substitutes in his 28-year-old and 29-year-old, he would have worth $ 35 million a year, though the teams were really paid. exactly as many dollars as they are worth. Even if that would not happen, Realmuto still has a gigantic value, given that its 2019 arbitration decision provides for around $ 7 million (and that we could then set its 2020 arbitrage decision to about twice this number of 2019).

In terms of skills, Realmuto has improved in many areas over the past three years, notably because of its plate discipline: it has increased its walking speed while swaying less often outside the strike zone. and falling in fewer 0-1 strokes. . His power also increased (his .208 Isolated Power mark was a better career, putting him on a par with Jose Abreu and beating sluggers like Justin Upton) and a basic value (he stole only three goals in 2018, but did such a good job – 90 feet over the baspaths that he offered more value with his legs than José Altuve). It is difficult to find a good historical composition for Realmuto, for a simple reason: very few wrestlers have so few weaknesses in their game.

Realmuto's competitors in 2018 have not had such problems to show their weaknesses. Between veterans showing signs of wear and young captives falling short of expectations, last season was one of the worst ever for backstops.

How much have things deteriorated for the current sensors? For some answers, we turned to CBS Sports Research Master John Fisher. Using earnings above replacement, Fisher found two notable trends. First, the 2018 receiver group was unusually ugly. Second, Realmuto stood head and shoulders above his peers, another relative rarity. Fisher's Notes:

  • Last season is the third time in four years that the top 10 sensors combine for a WAR below 30 – he was over 30 for 12 years 22 of the previous 23 seasons.
  • This season was the sixth time in the century that the best catcher (in this case, Realmuto) won at least one complete victory better than the second catcher (this happened in 2015, 2012, 2009, 2006 and 2005 ).
  • This season was the third year in a row that the best receiver (Realmuto in this case) had less than five wins over replacement – the best receiver had at least five wins over replacement for ten consecutive years before.
  • Last season, the cumulative catch war lasted 10 years, or 50 or more, the second longest such sequence in the history of the major leagues. It was only the fourth time in 23 seasons that the receiver's cumulative WAR had fallen below 50.

Although the loss of efficiency of the receivers was felt throughout the league, six receivers stood out significantly in relation to expectations and their own number of careers.

Few players, regardless of their position, have fallen faster in recent years than Buster Posey. The most valuable player in the National League in 2012 was still a smashing beast of 300 batters, starting in 2014, which is no small feat for an AT & T ATV ​​striker. de Posey has dropped over the years, reaching a nadir of just five long balls last year, with a big fat goose egg in the last 45 games he has played. Formerly an elite defensive backstop, the leading indicators ranked it as a tick above the average with the glove of last year as well.

In 2018, Posey was one of many captives over the age of 30 to feel the pain. Jonathan Lucroy, 32, was once a two-way terrorist, an elite defensive catcher who also raised money in 2012, 2014 and 2016. But Lucroy struck as a pitcher and caught as a peanut seller last year, beating a lean, 241 / .291 / .325, while posting some of the worst defensive numbers in the league. The four-time star player, Russell Martin, was one of the most patient hitters in the league, but also broke a staggering record of .194 at age 35. He loses his position as a beginner in favor of Danny Jansen at the end of the year.

The youngest ones had their share of problems. The batting average of .235 and the Salvador Perez gold .274 on six occasions were the lowest in the career. Willson Contreras rose from a rising star to a massive disappointment, though some of that might have been anticipated: his 21 circuits in 2017 dropped to just 10 in 2018, driven by his run-to-fly rate in free fall from 26 percent to just 9% last season.

Then there was Gary Sanchez. The baby bomber appeared to be about to rifle with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in their annihilation of the AL launcher. Instead, Sanchez sank from .278 / .345 / .531, a behemoth of 33 homers to .186 / .291 / .406, a duet of 18 homers. If you add this terrible offensive bomb to Sanchez's notorious pitch blocking abilities, you will understand why the Yankees at least kicked Realmuto this winter, while Sanchez was younger and possessed the power of a Lighthouse.

Yadier Molina was 36 last season and free agent Yasmani Grandal (who was ranked second last season in the WAR receiver) played a terrible playoff defense, and Realmuto's brilliance only made than grow. We are now waiting to see if a team will pay the price asked by the Marlins, whether before or after the Harper-and-Machado market, finally, is played happily.