Phillies figured to add George Springer, lose J.T. Realmuto
By Matt Rappa
An MLB.com scribe predicts the Phillies will sign George Springer, but lose J.T. Realmuto to the Mets
Sunday marks the official start to free agency, meaning several members of the 2020 Philadelphia Phillies roster are now free to sign with any team in Major League Baseball — among such players include catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius.
MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince recently made seven Hot Stove free agency predictions, two of which directly involve the Phillies through addition and subtraction.
First, Castrovince boldly predicts the two-time All-Star Realmuto will sign with the division-rival New York Mets as the would-be replacement to fellow former Phillies catcher Wilson Ramos. This comes as Steve Cohen takes over Mets ownership with the unofficial title of being “the richest owner in baseball” with his $14.5 billion estimated net worth.
With Cohen coming on board, the Mets are thought to be buyers this offseason. “They have already bought out [Ramos] and will go for the one guy, [Realmuto], who can impact them in a dramatic way, both offensively and defensively,” Castrovince predicts.
If this prediction comes to fruition, that would not bode well for the Phillies, both offensively and defensively. Realmuto has complemented Bryce Harper well in the lineup so far, two seasons into his 13-year contract; his absence would be surely felt. Because of this, Castrovince eyes the Phillies turning their attention to another middle-of-the-order bat — three-time All-Star center fielder George Springer.
“Outbid for Realmuto, the Phils will pivot to Springer — at a lesser price — to address what has been a problem area in center field for a while now,” Castrovince writes.
In 2020, Phillies center fielders did not exactly produce offensively. Roman Quinn slashed just .213/.261/.315 in 41 games; Adam Haseley slashed .278/.348/.342 in 40 games. Springer, meanwhile, produced a .265/.359/.540 slash line in 51 games — an already noticeable upgrade.
“[Springer’s] age (31) is mildly worrisome, but paying top dollar for a soon-to-be-30-year-old catcher carries risk, too,” Castrovince continues. “Springer will bring postseason pedigree to a team that desperately needs to take the next step.”
So far through 63 career postseason games, Springer has slugged 19 home runs and 38 RBI. Only Derek Jeter (20), Bernie Williams (22), and Manny Ramirez (29) have ever hit more home runs in Major League Baseball history.
Losing Realmuto to the Mets would be crushing, but adding another solid bat in Springer — a 2017 World Series champion and MVP, as well as a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner — would be a nice consolation prize. Plus, Haseley could move over to left field full-time in 2022, once Andrew McCutchen‘s contract expires following the 2021 season.