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That was, until, on Thursday when Miami sent Realmuto the Philadelphia Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and an worldwide bonus slot.

The Marlins' idea, according to sources familiar with their thinking, was that one of those clubs might overpay.

Many consider Realmuto the biggest name on the offseason trade market, and at least six teams reportedly inquired about trading for him since he rejected the Marlins' contract offer in October.

The Phillies on Thursday traded for "the best catcher in baseball".

"It's a possible steal [for the Marlins], I think", said one National League scout who has seen Alfaro and Sanchez.

Realmuto, an All-Star catcher, was the final piece of real major league value brought over from the previous regime for Jeter & Co.to trade as they tear it down before they hope to build it up.

Even as the Harper and Machado sweepstakes lurch into their fourth months - with numerous usual, big-money suspects (Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs) apparently taking a pass, and the void filled with some dark horses and mystery teams (Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants) - much of the industry takes it as an inevitability that the Phillies will walk away with one of them.

The Phillies have been busy this offseason, adding Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson and Jean Segura in addition to Realmuto.

Stewart enjoyed a bit of a breakout in the minors previous year. Starting pitcher Sixto Sanchez headlines the return for Miami. One of the prospects, 20-year-old RHP Sixto Sanchez, was Philadelphia's top-rated farmhand.

Sanchez in 48 games over four seasons in the minors is 15-12 with a 2.48 ERA with 191 strikeouts in 221 1/3 innings. He hit.277 and set career highs with 21 homers, 74 RBI and an OPS of.825.

He was also selected to his first All-Star game and won a Silver Slugger award.

Realmuto was in his second season of arbitration eligibility this winter. Perhaps just as attractive to the Marlins: the earliest Alfaro can hit free agency is 2024. "A pitcher who we think can develop and lead a championship rotation", Hill said.

Klentak also his defense and impact on the clubhouse are also a plus.

The Marlins finished last in the NL East a year ago with a 63-98 record.