The Philadelphia Phillies could be taking the Chicago White Sox route to tempting preferred target and sought-after free agent Bryce Harper to join the franchise this offseason after they landed JT Realmuto via a trade from the Miami Marlins on Thursday.

Realmuto is considered one of the best catcher in the MLB at the moment and was put up for trade since the offseason began in 2018. He was linked to a number of teams but the Marlins’ demands were putting off potential suitors.

The Atlanta Braves were said to be in advanced talks and so were the Cincinnati Reds as recent as two weeks back, but it was the team least mentioned in the reports over the last month that finally landed the in-demand catcher.

The Phillies parted with catcher Jorge Alfaro, right-hander Sixto Sanchez, left-hander Will Stewart and $250,000 in international bonus slot money to bring Realmuto to Philadelphia. The 27-year-old is under team control through 2020 and can only enter free agency in 2021.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak was delighted to have landed “the best catcher in baseball”, telling reporters via a conference call, as quoted on MLB.com: “I think the upgrade is pretty significant. It's hard to acquire top players at any position, especially at the catcher position."

They have now made four acquisitions this offseason with the other three being Andrew McCutchen to the outfield, Jean Segura at shortstop and David Robertson. But the Phillies’ main targets have been the two most sought after free agents this offseason, Harper and Manny Machado.

They were initially said to be targeting a move for Machado whom they met at Citizens Bank Park during his three-city tour in December, but their focus is now said to have shifted toward right-fielder Harper after their face-to-face meeting with him in January.

And now with the acquisition of Realmuto, multiple reports suggest they could enhance their position as the favorites to land Harper, who is a big admirer of the former Marlins catcher. And it is being called the White Sox way because the Chicago franchise was said to be trying to lure Machado by recruiting his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and close friend Jon Jay earlier in the offseason.

Harper was keen for his former team, the Washington Nationals, to sign Realmuto last season and after the latter helped the Marlins beat the Nationals with a walk-off single, the former said: “If that guy was on our side, it wouldn’t have happened.”

The Phillies remain confident that they will land one of the big free agents this season and they made their intent clear about being ready to spend "stupid" money when they met the Marlins’ demands when so many other teams were unwilling.

However, the White Sox and San Diego Padres also remain in the race for the right-fielder, while his former team Nationals are now considered outsiders despite making a $300 million offer over 10-years.