Phillies ‘not in position’ to re-sign catcher J.T. Realmuto
By Matt Rappa
J.T. Realmuto returning to the Phillies in 2021 just got more unlikely
The Philadelphia Phillies organization has been in the headlines in recent days, but unfortunately not for player transactions nor any other baseball reasons. On Friday, it eliminated more than 80 front office positions of employees — who had more than 1,100 combined years of service — through a mix of buyouts and layoffs.
Fast-forward to Saturday, it appears the hopes of catcher J.T. Realmuto returning for a third season with the Phillies in 2021 can just about be forgotten.
The New York Daily News reports that Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton recently told his “baseball people” that because of the significant financial losses the organization suffered this year, it is “not in position to re-sign Realmuto or any other big-ticket free agents.”
UPDATE: The Daily News has since updated its article to say the club may not be in position to re-sign Realmuto.
The Phillies have reportedly lost nearly $150 million; they are valued at $2 billion overall, according to Forbes.
The 2021 season will mark exactly one decade since the Phillies last made the postseason. Since, they have not finished any season with a winning record. Only the Seattle Mariners (19 seasons) have a longer postseason drought across Major League Baseball.
Given the upgrades made among other teams within the National League East division, including the New York Mets now being led by willing-to-spend owner Steve Cohen, optimism has been hard to come with Phils fans in recent weeks.
The Phillies reportedly not being a “position” to bring back Realmuto likely means they will have to sign a veteran on a cheap deal, or go with a combination of Andrew Knapp and Rafael Marchan as the starting and backup catchers, respectively. Still, both of their efforts combined would not resemble the production and value Realmuto has brought to the team ever since the February 2019 trade with the Miami Marlins.
While things currently seem bleak within the organization, one would have to hope things can only get better from here.