Don Mattingly suggested Friday that the team would enter spring training with Realmuto penciled in as the starting catcher.
"For me, I'm ecstatic right now, because I feel like we're walking into camp with J.T. again," Mattingly said, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. "He gives us a better chance to win and grow as an organization."
In October, it was revealed that Realmuto would not agree to an extension with the Marlins once he's eligible for free agency in 2021. His agent, Jeff Berry, subsequently predicted he would be traded during the offseason.
That prediction has not yet come to fruition, though there has been ample interest. The New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies are among the teams that have been linked to the Marlins catcher. The asking price has been high, however, and no deal is apparently imminent.
"J.T., he's the real deal," Mattingly said. "That's why, I think, we've put a price tag on him that's way up there. I feel like he's one of the best catchers I've seen athletically. He can run, throw. He hits. He hits for power."
Realmuto was the best hitting catcher in the majors in 2018 despite only appearing in 125 games. He slashed .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs, 30 doubles, and 74 RBIs.