J.T. Realmuto
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Report: Reds have discussed package deal for J.T. Realmuto

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Just a few days ago, it look as though the Dodgers and Padres were taking the lead on trade talks for Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, with the Reds, Braves, and Rays on the periphery. While the California-based teams may still be leading discussions behind the scenes, MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo reported Saturday that the Reds have recently discussed a package that includes infield prospect Jonathan India, catcher Tucker Barnhart, and an unknown third player.

India profiled as the Reds’ no. 4 prospect (and no. 53 in the league) when MLB.com unveiled their 2019 prospect lists last month. Mayo adds that the Reds haven’t been actively shopping the 22-year-old shortstop/third baseman throughout the offseason, but as they’re unwilling to move their top three — infielder Nick Senzel, outfielder Taylor Trammell, and versatile right-hander Hunter Greene — India is the next logical choice in any prospect-based deal. The third baseman played his first season of pro ball in 2018, slashing a combined .240/.380/.433 with six home runs, six stolen bases (in seven chances), and an .814 OPS across 184 plate appearances for the Reds’ rookie-level and Single-A affiliates.

Barnhart, on the other hand, has several years of major-league experience under his belt. He rounded out his fifth season with the Reds in 2018, batting a decent, if underwhelming .248/.328/.372 with a career-high 10 home runs and 1.1 fWAR through 522 PA. His offensive numbers don’t rival those put up by Realmuto over the last several seasons, but he’s a solid defender behind the dish and should give the Marlins a serviceable and affordable replacement as they look to offload their top player.

While other existing offers have yet to be publicized, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro notes that the Dodgers, Padres, Braves, and Rays are all thought to still be active in talks for Realmuto. No one team appears to be the favorite at the moment, though that could quickly change as the 2019 season approaches.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.