Phillies: J.T. Realmuto rejects offer, pitching coach update

J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

Update on J.T. Realmuto’s qualifying offer and Phillies pitching coach search

More than six weeks have passed since the Philadelphia Phillies last played a game, meaning their offseason is well underway. On Wednesday, two key updates were provided regarding the future of catcher J.T. Realmuto and the search for a new pitching coach.

Realmuto, who the Phillies recently issued a one-year, $18.9 qualifying offer, will not accept the 2021 deal and will now head into free agency, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. And, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies have already interviewed at least three pitching coach candidates to replace Bryan Price and are now in the “second round.”

The perennial All-Star catcher rejecting the qualifying offer is among the most predictable moves of the Phillies’ offseason. Realmuto has been on record as to saying he would like to “raise the bar” in terms of contracts for players at his position; an $18.9 million pact for just one season would not do that.

The Phillies could have also offered Didi Gregorius a similar one-year offer, but chose not to and let him enter free agency. While the market for Realmuto likely will exceed a near $19 million AAV, the Phillies likely believed Gregorius would not be able to land an AAV in that range, hence their non-offer.

The Phils will now receive draft pick compensation if Realmuto signs with another team.

Meanwhile, Salisbury reports that two internal candidates — assistant pitching coach Dave Lundquist and minor-league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves — as well as the Cincinnati Reds assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham are among those who have already been interviewed for the Phillies pitching coach position.

Cothman notably pitched as a player under manager Joe Girardi while playing for the New York Yankees. Chaves is also a Yankees organization alumnus. Before assuming his big-league assistant pitching coach duties in Philadelphia, Lundquist worked more than a decade in their minor-league system.

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