Phillies, Dave Dombrowski more likely to sign J.T. Realmuto
By Matt Rappa
New Phillies executive Dave Dombrowski says everyone in the organization would like to bring back J.T. Realmuto.
The Philadelphia Phillies being able to re-sign perennial All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto remains no easy task. However, now with their new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, the feat is surely more likely than before to becoming a reality.
Friday afternoon during his introductory press conference, Dombrowski said that he considers the current state of the franchise to be in a “retool” rather than a “rebuild.”
“We have a star player in right field in Bryce Harper,” Dombrowski said. “And, any time you have three good starting pitchers like we have at the top of the rotation, there’s a good chance you are going to be competitive.”
When asked about Realmuto, specifically, Dombrowski said that while he does not yet know if there is enough money to re-sign him and fill out the rest of the roster, everyone in the organization loves him and would like to bring him back. “There is flexibility to make moves; is there enough to get something like that done, I’m not sure,” he continued.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Realmuto, Dombrowski is still getting himself situated with the Phillies and is well-aware that Managing Partner John Middleton remains committed to win. Bringing back the catcher would go a long way to reaching that goal sooner than later.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki said earlier on Friday on MLB Network that just Dombrowski’s mere presence alone will send a message to J.T.’s camp, and all of Major League Baseball, “that the Phillies are still going to try and find a way to win.”
“If he can get it done, he will,” Zolecki said.
The two-time World Series champion executive has a reputation for going out and getting the player he wants, even if it means diving deep into the farm system’s assets. To acquire the free-agent Realmuto, the only asset Dombrowski would need to give up is cash.
Do not expect the “best catcher in baseball” to receive a blank check, however. “I was told the Phillies are not going to cut a blank check for J.T. Realmuto,” Zolecki added. “If he wants $200 million, he’s not going to get it in Philadelphia.” Still, Zolecki stressed that Dombrowski’s pedigree, track record, and words alone will “go a long way.”
“If he might need a little bit of cash to get [the deal done], I think maybe he can go to [Middleton] and say, ‘I understand the payroll constraints and I understand your concerns, but give me a little bit extra and we can bring J.T. back.'”