Phillies: 5 Andy MacPhail press conference takeaways

Andy MacPhail of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Andy MacPhail of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Phillies President Andy MacPhail speaks to the media

Philadelphia Phillies President Andy MacPhail met with reporters for the first time since the conclusion of the shortened 2020 season; here are five important takeaways, the first involving noteworthy free agent J.T. Realmuto.

1. The Phillies are optimistic that they can re-sign J.T. Realmuto.

Although MacPhail would not put a percentage figure on their chances to bring back Realmuto, he said the organization has optimism they can do so.

MacPhail went on to cite two reasons as to why the Phillies can re-sign the two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and one-time Gold Glove Award recipient. The first reason being that the Oklahoma native has enjoyed his two seasons spent so far playing in Philadelphia, and the second  that the Phillies want to keep him.

Of course, free agency is not that easy. MacPhail continued that the Phillies have previously negotiated with Realmuto’s agents multiple times to try to ink a long-term deal, but “weren’t able to find anything approaching common ground.”

When asked about the Phillies having to trade Sixto Sanchez, who impressed across seven starts in his rookie season, the veteran front office executive said “there are no guarantees with young pitchers.” In a way, MacPhail is right; consider when the Phillies parted with the highly regarded Kyle Drabek as part of the trade for Roy Halladay in December 2009. Drabek’s career lasted just seven seasons; he went 8-15 with a 5.26 ERA in 43 games and 30 starts overall.

2. The Phillies issuing a qualifying offer to Didi Gregorius is not a guarantee.

While MacPhail was somewhat transparent on negotiations involving Realmuto, he did not reveal much regarding shortstop Didi Gregorius, who played all 60 games this past season — producing 10 doubles, 10 home runs, 40 RBI, and a .284/.339/.488 slash line.

When asked of the possibility as to whether the Phillies would extend a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to the nine-year veteran, MacPhail replied that he “can’t get into” those specifics.

The Phillies may be reluctant to issue a qualifying offer to Gregorius, because they might believe he will accept it, while they may think they could bring him back on a cheaper deal. If Gregorius rejects the offer and signs elsewhere, the Phillies would receive draft-pick compensation. It’s a difficult decision to make any offseason, especially now during the COVID-19 crisis.