JT Realmuto Marlins Phillies
J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins hits a home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Eric Espada/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies have been in pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado for months, but neither player appears close to signing as they seek their desired, record-setting contracts. The team that’s been expected to make the biggest splash this offseason might do so in a trade before either free agent makes a decision on their future.

It was reported earlier this week that the Phillies checked in with the Miami Marlins about J.T. Realmuto. Now it appears that trade talks between the two teams have begun to get more serious.

A source has told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that a possible trade sending the catcher to Philadelphia is “gaining momentum.” Miami has been weighing offers for Realmuto throughout the offseason, and he’s likely to be moved before the 2019 MLB season begins.

The Marlins have been seeking an established MLB player in addition to at least one prospect for the All-Star. According to the latest report, the Phillies’ willingness to include prospect Sixto Sanchez might make or break the potential trade.

MLB Pipeline lists Sanchez as Philadelphia’s No.1 prospect. The right-handed pitcher is listed as the No.27 overall prospect in baseball

The San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves have also been in discussions with the Marlins about acquiring Realmuto.

Realmuto is considered by many to be the best catcher in all of baseball. He made his first All-Star team in 2018 by hitting .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs in 125 games. Realmuto had a 4.3 WAR after posting a 3.6 WAR in 2017.

At 27 years old, Realmuto is under team control until after the 2020 season when he can become a free agent.

Philadelphia has yet to be “stupid” about spending money this winter. That could certainly change with players like Harper, Machado, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel still available.

The Phillies are expected to acquire one of the All-Star hitters that remain unsigned.