Philadelphia Phillies: NL East rival vying for J.T. Realmuto

The Phillies are not the lone team still in the mix for J.T. Realmuto.

The Philadelphia Phillies might still have some competition to re-sign star free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto this offseason — even after the recent Toronto Blue Jays spending frenzy.

FanSided’s Robert Murray reported Thursday morning that the Phillies’ National League East-rival Atlanta Braves are “circling” on the two-time All-Star, and that other west coast teams are “expressing interest” as well.

The Phillies have been expressed their interest and desire to bring back Realmuto on several occasions this offseason, including as recently as Monday from president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski during the introductory press conference for reliever Archie Bradley.

“I think everybody knows that you’d like to bring him back,” Dombrowski said. “We want to do everything we can to make our club better. You do what you possibly can. I think we’ve expressed our desires in doing so, so we’ll do our best in that regard.”

Manager Joe Girardi shared similar thoughts the following day on MLB Network, saying the organization is doing everything it can to bring Realmuto back. “J.T. is a special talent. We all know that. Every club would love to have a guy like J.T.,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing that he doesn’t do. He hits for power, he hits for average, he runs the bases, he throws runners out, he receives well, he blocks well. He’s a tremendous athlete.”

With the Braves having catcher Travis d’Arnaud, a former Phillies prospect, is there really a fit for J.T. Realmuto in Atlanta?

The Braves having rumored interest in Realmuto is interesting, considering they have catcher Travis d’Arnaud under contract for the 2021 season. But, as NBC Sports’ D.J. Short notes, d’Arnaud only has one year remaining on his deal, and comes with a “long injury history.”

“[The] DH spot is open with [Marcell] Ozuna in free agency,” Short added. “Coming off a shortened season, it might not be a terrible idea. Still, I’d be surprised if the Phillies didn’t get this done.”

Thursday’s rumor could very well be an effort from Realmuto’s agent to try to drive up the price for a contract. The Phillies’ current offer is reportedly $110 million over five years. Time will tell how things continue to unfold.