Future value vs. current value
Like I stated earlier, Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball. Well, the best catcher concerning easily quantifiable metrics. One of six qualified catchers in 2018, Realmuto slashed .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs. By FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement model, otherwise known as fWAR, he finished the latest season with +4.8 wins. The next closest catcher by fWAR? Yasmani Grandal with +3.6 wins.
The lack of quality depth at catcher in today’s baseball is alarming. While dependable catchers are around the game, there is usually a trade-off. For example, veteran Jeff Mathis recently signed a contract with the Rangers. The long-time major leaguer only has a career .564 OPS as a hitter. However, he is considered one of the more well-respected catchers in the game due to his ability to handle a pitching staff and generally reliable defensive profile. Texas is banking on Mathis providing value with his defense and how he helps improve their fledgling pitching staff.
I am assuming that the Astros are already had internal discussions how they view the future value of Tucker or Whitley when compared to Realmuto. Remember that the prospects will provide at least six controllable seasons, compared to Realmuto’s two remaining years on his current contract. Honestly, if the club’s front office decides to offer a premium package for the Marlins’ All-Star catcher, I wouldn’t lambast them. With a window already open, it makes sense to maximize it with proven talent. But there are alternative options to consider this offseason.