Phillies “widely expected” to extend J.T. Realmuto

How soon could the Phillies get a deal done with J.T. Realmuto?

After making two major additions this offseason with Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius, the Phillies have been extremely quiet on the free agent and trade market. Some of that is because of the luxury tax, but could another reason be a pending deal with J.T. Realmuto?

According to ESPN’s Jess Passan, the Phillies are “widely expected” to reach an extension with J.T. Realmuto, although the timing isn’t exactly certain just yet.

After trading top prospect Sixto Sanchez, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and prospect Will Stewart within the division to Miami last offseason for Realmuto, it was assumed the Phillies wanted more than two years from the best catcher in baseball.

With no deal done at this point, Realmuto would headline next year’s free agent class as the best catcher in baseball. After hitting 25 home runs, throwing out the most runners in baseball, and being named to his second All-Star team, Realmuto received a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and finished 14th in the MVP race after his first season in Philadelphia.

Fitting Realmuto’s deal under the luxury tax would require the Phillies to potentially backload it for when several large deals (Jake Arrieta, Jay Bruce, Didi Gregorius, David Robertson) come off the books.

Right now the largest deal for a catcher in terms of years and total money is Buster Posey’s eight-year $159 million deal. Yadier Molina’s three-year deal worth $60 million is the most average annual value for a catcher.

Realmuto is turning 29 this year, three years older than Posey when he signed his deal with the Giants. His deal likely won’t be as much total money, but it will likely be at least $100 million and make him a Phillie for the rest of his career.

Keep an eye on this potential deal over the next three months, especially during spring training. Aaron Nola’s contract came on February 13, around when pitchers and catchers reported to Clearwater.