Astros rumors: Price tag for J.T. Realmuto remains high

The Astros are still reportedly interested in one of the best catchers in baseball last season.

Although the Astros signed free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos to a one-year contract earlier in the offseason, there are still rumors linking Houston to All-Star J.T. Realmuto.

But the cost remains quite high as indicated by Jon Morosi of Yes, the Marlins stay steadfast in their demands for either Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker to be included in a potential trade. In other news, water is wet.

Cue the remarks about the Astros being prospect hoarders — honestly, they’re not — and the short window of contention. Honestly, I will give more credence to the latter than the former, especially with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole only under contract through 2019. But general manager Jeff Luhnow isn’t in the wrong to hold on to top two prospects in trade negotiations. I am quite reluctant in parting ways with either player at this point in their development.

For the Marlins, the continuing high demands aren’t unexpected as Realmuto was one of the best overall catchers in baseball last season with a 126 wRC+ and respectable defensive skills. He wasn’t named an All-Star by accident, you know. But for an organization that traded Giancarlo Stanton — yes, I know about that contract — Marcell Ozuna for minimal returns, it is a strange time for Miami to hold negotiations to such high demand. Now, they aren’t wrong, but I do consider the timing as something of particular interest.

If the season started today, the Astros would likely have a tandem of offense-first Chirinos and defense-first Max Stassi at catcher. Not a lousy platoon if I can be honest, but I’d understand if Houston wanted to fortify the position further. Realmuto would solve plenty of the position’s shortcomings in 2019. That said, Whitley and Tucker are considered part of the future in Houston as both have six years of club control. Miami’s star catcher only has two years of club control left, and there hasn’t been an indication — to my knowledge — of Realmuto signing an extension with the Astros.