Phillies: J.T. Realmuto still poised for record contract

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

Free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto is still on track to set a record catcher contract.

The Philadelphia Phillies may have been holding out hope that the free-agent market would not resemble those of past years due to the COVID-19 pandemic — thus allowing them to re-sign perennial All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto on a cheaper deal.

If there is any indication that will not be the case, consider the free-agent signing made on Monday by the Chicago White Sox, who inked dominant closer Liam Hendriks to a three-year deal for $39 million, along with a fourth-year club option for $15 million.

As MLB insider Jim Bowden notes, the Hendriks free-agent deal “clearly demonstrates” that Major League Baseball’s financial losses this past year, including no fans being in the stands, “will not affect the top free agents.”

“Prepare for [Trevor] Bauer, Realmuto, [George] Springer, and [DJ] LeMahieu to break AAV records next,” Bowden added.

As of late December, the Phillies still had not made an official offer to Realmuto, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. And, earlier this month, the site’s Jim Salisbury reported that the organization still remains in the mix. He said that no official offer is not alarming, as both the Phillies and Realmuto are “still setting parameters, feeling each other out,” and “trying to determine what the market is.”

If anything, the market more and more is trending toward teams who wish to contend, will spend what is necessary to land their targeted player.

Realmuto has long said he wishes to set a record average annual value (AAV) contract for catchers. His friend, Bryce Harper, frequently campaigned for the Phillies to re-sign the catcher during the 2020 season. Not to mention, Phillies fans have been vocal for Realmuto to be brought back, and the Phillies themselves have said they would like him to return in 2021.

All sides would like to see a deal happen. Whether it will is another story.

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