Phillies sign J.T. Realmuto to record AAV deal for catchers
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies have re-signed J.T. Realmuto.
The wait is over. After a long offseason filled with uncertainty, the Philadelphia Phillies have re-signed star catcher J.T. Realmuto to a five-year, $115.5 million deal, first reported Tuesday afternoon by SportsGrid’s Craig Mish.
The deal sets two records for the catcher position. First, it marks a record average annual value for a catcher at $23.1 million, eclipsing Joe Mauer‘s by $100K. Also, Realmuto’s $115.5 million contract sets a free-agent contract record for a catcher — 36 percent larger than Brian McCann‘s previously set $85 million contract. As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes, Mauer’s 2010 deal with the Twins still holds the overall record for a catcher at $184 million spanning eight years.
A two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and 2019 Gold Glove Award recipient, Realmuto played each of the last two seasons in red pinstripes — combining to slash .273/.333/.492 with 42 doubles, 36 home runs, and 115 RBI across 192 games. In the field, Realmuto logged a combined 1,430 1/3 innings behind the plate and committed just 11 errors. During his first season with the Phillies, Realmuto led the National League in caught settling percentage (46.7).
The Oklahoma native began his big-league career in June 2014 with the Miami Marlins, a team he played five seasons with before being dealt to Philadelphia in February 2019 for top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, catcher Jorge Alfaro, minor-league Will Stewart, and international bonus slot money. Sanchez debuted this past season and was recently named the No. 1 prospect in baseball by Baseball America. Among the fans wanted the Phillies to re-sign Realmuto was for losing a potential future Hall of Fame pitcher in Sanchez.
This coming season, Realmuto will once again be backed up by Andrew Knapp, who avoided arbitration early last month by agreeing to a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Phillies.
Just three weeks until pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Clearwater, Florida, for spring training. For the first time, we now know that Realmuto will be among the group.