Russell Martin isn’t the only major league player who will assume control of the dugout when the regular season comes to an end on Sunday. According to Marlins skipper Don Mattingly, catcher J.T. Realmuto will take over managing duties for the day in what has become something of a tradition for the team.
Realmuto, 27, made his final appearance of the season on Saturday and will round out his fifth year in Miami with a .277/.340/.484 batting line and career-best 21 home runs and .825 OPS through 531 plate appearances. His .300+ batting average and double-digit home runs helped him to his first All-Star nomination during the first half of the year as well. There’s still some ambiguity surrounding Realmuto’s future within the organization, however, and the Marlins haven’t yet indicated whether they intend to extend or trade the catcher as they look to restructure their roster into something resembling a postseason contender.
After calling the game from the dugout during the Marlins’ final game against the Mets, Realmuto will join A.J. Ellis and Martin Prado as the team’s most recent one-time player-managers. Ellis took his turn in the skipper’s seat during the 2017 season finale and steered the club to an 8-5 loss against the Braves, while Prado did double-duty in 2016 after juggling a full lineup and third base duties against the Nationals, who eventually took the series with a 10-7 win.