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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Manny Machado plans to visit Citizens Bank Park, per source - NBCSports.com

LAS VEGAS — Don't hold your breath on the Phillies landing All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Sure, the Phillies like the Miami Marlins' star. Who doesn't? He will play at 28 next season and is a game-changer on both sides of the ball. He's also two years away from free agency.

And, yes, sources confirm that the Phils have had trade discussions with the Marlins involving Realmuto.

But a person with direct knowledge of those discussions said a deal was unlikely.

"They don't have enough," the person said, referring to the quality of major league-ready prospects that the Phillies could offer compared to other clubs that are interested in Realmuto.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak likes his current catching tandem of Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, but he did not shoot down the possibility of an upgrade.

"As an organization, we're high on both Alfaro and Knapp for different reasons, different skill sets," Klentak said at the winter meetings Tuesday. "But if there's an opportunity for us to get better, we'll consider that."

Klentak was asked about reports involving Realmuto in particular.

"If you see rumors connecting us to good players either through free agency or trades, they're probably true," Klentak said. "That doesn't mean we're going to do them but we're in the business of trying to get better. If we can add really good players then we're going to try and do it. I'm not going to refute that we have interest in the top trade targets but I don't know if it will happen."

It is highly likely that the Phillies will add catching depth in the coming weeks. That could come with the signing of a backup-type to a minor-league deal. Otherwise, the 25-year-old Alfaro is going to get the bulk of the reps behind the plate.

"I think what Jorge showed last year was incredible growth for a first-year catcher both on the offensive side and the defensive side," Klentak said. "He cut his strikeout rate every month of the year. His receiving and his framing went from being not great to very good in one year. Obviously, he became more familiar with our pitching staff and how they prepare. So we absolutely think Jorge can and will be our frontline guy."

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