The Phillies’ Bryce Harper says J.T. Realmuto is his “favorite player in the world.”
With the start of the 2020 season delayed from March 26 to July 24, there has not been much opportunity for individual baseball players, such as Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, to reach headlines for their actions on the baseball diamond.
But, with summer camp now underway, Harper is taking every opportunity he can to advocate for his friend, teammate, and fellow perennial All-Star, catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Set to enter free agency this offseason, Realmuto seeks to set a new standard for catchers as it relates to contract value. Talks between Phillies brass and Realmuto for an extension took place back in early spring training, but have not resumed since, according to Phillies general manager Matt Klentak.
Last week, Harper said it would be “sad” and “terrible” if Realmuto is not brought back following the shortened 2020 season, adding: “Everybody in this organization wants to see him in red pinstripes for the rest of his career. Hopefully we can make that happen.”
And, so far at camp, Harper has been seen at summer camp donning a white Realmuto shirsey.
On Wednesday, even, the outfielder made his third bold statement directed to Klentak and the rest of the Phillies front office for them to re-sign Realmuto. During the team’s intra-squad scrimmage, their first of summer camp ahead of next week’s three exhibition games, Harper audibly yelled “Sign him!” following the catcher’s home run to the right field bleachers.
Harper is under contract through the 2031 season when he will be 38. Chances are, he will finish his career in red pinstripes. He does not have to stick his head out for anyone, but he chooses to do so. Simply put, Harper wants to win a championship in Philadelphia.
In a recent interview with Rawlings, Harper named Realmuto his “favorite player in the world.”
“[He] is my favorite player in the world. Everyone knows that,” Harper said. “I think he’s the best catcher in baseball. He’s got a great family; he has two beautiful daughters and he’s an amazing husband.”
Harper continued that Realmuto is someone that he aspires to be like, because he goes about things the right way “every single day.”
“He’s a true professional. If there’s one guy that’s a true professional that understands the game, it’s him,” Harper said. “He puts down good fingers every single day as well and hits the crap out of the ball each day also.”
Usually, players interfering with teammates’ contract negotiations with the organization is frowned upon. But, it should not be in this scenario. Harper is the face of the Phillies, and will be for a long time. If he wants Realmuto by his side for at least the next five or so years, everything possible should be done to make that happen.