J.T. Realmuto says he has no hard feelings toward Phillies
By Matt Rappa
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto spoke to the media for the first time since baseball’s return
Among the biggest topics surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies so far in summer camp is the contract, or the lack thereof, of pending free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Bryce Harper has advocated for his friend and teammate in several ways, from wearing his shirsey, to screaming “Sign him!” after the All-Star catcher launched a home run in intra-squad scrimmage play.
Realmuto spoke to the media for the first time since baseball’s return on Thursday, and did not pay much time, nor interest, in wanting to discuss his lingering contract situation. The six-year veteran did say, however, that talks have not resumed since “preliminary” discussion between he and Phillies brass back in spring training.
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A transaction freeze that began during the March shutdown (lifted as of few weeks ago) prevented talks from progressing further. Realmuto said that despite this, he is not frustrated. He added that he “understands the business” and that he still loves playing in red pinstripes.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki believes it is starting to feel like Realmuto will hit the open market and the Phillies will try to re-sign him then. As for Harper advocating for his contract renewal, Realmuto laughed it off and said he hopes the outfielder owns the Phillies one day. Therefore, he “might be able to catch” until he is 60 if the All-Star outfielder owns the team.”
Realmuto’s thoughts on the 2020 season
Phillies manager Joe Girardi has already hinted he will utilize the designated hitter position to give some of the team’s regulars, such as Realmuto, Harper, and Andrew McCutchen, time off from playing in the field.
Realmuto is a fan of the DH position; he said he would love to play at least 55 of the 60 scheduled games, depending on what Girardi allows him to do. He added he could spare Rhys Hoskins some time off fielding first base as well, if needed.
The 60-game sprint is slated to get underway two weeks from Friday. The Phillies’ three exhibition games, on the road against the Nationals and Yankees and home against the Orioles, will occur even sooner.
Baseball is back, and Realmuto is expected to help the Phillies in a big way.