Phillies can’t afford to let J.T. Realmuto test free agency

JT Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
JT Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies lone 2019 All-Star was J.T. Realmuto; will he don red pinstripes in 2021?

J.T. Realmuto is the “best catcher in baseball.” We all know that. We also know that the Phillies gave up one of their top prospects and a young Catcher (who could have been under team control through 2024) for him. What we don’t know is the reason that’s stopping Matt Klentak from inking J.T. Realmuto to an extension.

A recent report from Todd Zolecki, Phillies’ insider, shows that the Phillies have talked to Realmuto’s agent but “nothing is close.” The idea that the Phillies will let Realmuto hit the open market in the offseason was mentioned as well, and if he does hit the open market, it’s bad news for Phillies fans.

J.T. Realmuto’s Situation

This baseball season is obviously unlike any other. Economic and revenue concerns have spread across Major League Baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These situations have led to uncertainty within the Phillies front office and J.T. Realmuto’s contract.

When the Phillies traded for Realmuto they knew he would be a free agent following the 2021 season. From that moment the Phillies have been trying to lock him up to a long-term deal. The 2019 season rolled on with only rumors and no real pen-to-paper action. Then the offseason came, and the process repeated itself.

It’s not like what Realmuto is asking for is out of this world. He’s the “best catcher in baseball” and should get paid like it. Realmuto wants at least $24 million per year, which would break the position’s record for the highest AAV per year. The length of the contract, about 5-6 years, should not scare anyone either. Realmuto keeps himself in outstanding shape. Plus, he does not have a serious injury history. Many other Catchers, guys like Yadier Molina and Jorge Posada, have caught well into their 30s. A contract at that length would only leave Realmuto around 34 or 35.