Report: Nationals checked in with the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto recently

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In his latest notes column, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Nationals checked in with the Marlins a couple weeks ago about catcher J.T. Realmuto. The two sides didn’t get anywhere, as the Marlins are reportedly looking for a “haul” and the Nats don’t want to pay that high of a price for a catching upgrade.

Realmuto, 27, is having a great season, batting .311/.376/.534 with six home runs and 19 RBI for the last-place Marlins. He’s earning $2.9 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration in his second of three years after the season. That means an acquiring team would have at least two more years of control of Realmuto after 2018.

Matt Wieters recently went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, so catching duties have been handled by Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom. Neither has performed well, so the club could certainly use an upgrade.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.