Phillies can’t afford to let J.T. Realmuto break their bank
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies should only bring back J.T. Realmuto if it does not break their bank
There is no doubt that catcher J.T. Realmuto is among the best current players to play his position. For two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, he was fittingly dubbed the “best catcher in baseball” — slashing a combined .273/.333/.492 with 42 doubles, 36 home runs, and 115 RBI across 192 games, while committing only 11 errors as catcher across 1,480 chances.
The Phillies have made multiple attempts to bring back Realmuto and will continue to do so, but they should not break their bank in re-signing the two-time All-Star. This offseason, due to depleted revenues amid the COVID-19 crisis, teams across Major League Baseball are expected to spend less.
The Phillies and current interim general manager Ned Rice have more holes than just a starting catcher position to fill. Didi Gregorius is also now a free-agent; do the Phillies simply offer Scott Kingery and Jean Segura full-time positions, complementing Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins, and move on from the former New York Yankees star shortstop?
The Phils could also use a centerfielder, too, unless they choose to trust Adam Haseley or Roman Quinn, or decide to give Odubel Herrera — who is still under contract — a second chance.
Not to mention, the Phillies need a complete overhaul of their historically bad 2020 season bullpen and could use a fourth and/or fifth starter to complement Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin in the rotation.
“They have a ton of holes,” NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury recently said on MLB Network’s High Heat with Chris Russo. “One idea floated around is to go after James McCann, who over the last couple of years has been comparable to Realmuto offensively. [He] comes with a lower sticker price that would allow [the Phillies] to spread some of their resources around the diamond and fill some of their big holes.”
It is not exactly known how much the Phillies will be able to spend. They have recently laid off professional scouts, and have offered buyouts to front office members. Managing Partner John Middleton has said that the Phillies are expected to lose more than $100 million in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The Phils have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason in more ways than one. If they do bring back Realmuto, it should be done in a way to make sure other roster holes can be filled.