Could the J.T. Realmuto contract hurt Phillies in long run?
Recently inked to a five-year, $115.5 million contract, J.T. Realmuto has cemented himself as a centerpiece moving forward for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The two-time All-Star and former Gold Glove Award winner went through a tumultuous offseason, eventually playing himself into the largest annual average valued contract for his position in the history of Major League Baseball.
While Realmuto no doubt brings exceptional value to the Phillies with his excellent defensive play and plus offensive ability, his contract presents a serious issue for the Phillies down the road.
The Phillies are more than a player away from being a World Series contender.
For one, as much as we would like to believe it, the Phils are more than a step away from contending for their third World Series championship. And part of the issue is shelling out millions of dollars to a small group of players. This isn’t just a Phillies problem, it’s a professional baseball front office problem.
Big names get fans in the seats, but the capital allotted to them doesn’t necessarily mean a winning ballclub, unless you have seemingly unlimited pockets in a big market, which the Los Angeles Dodgers did last season.
The Phillies seem to be falling victim to pressure from media and fans, who believe big names equal large amounts of wins.
The Phillies will have less to spend on other areas of need as they arise.
The other handcuff the Phillies have now created for themselves is a future lack of roster talent across the board. With about $50 million tied annually into two players, and more mouths to feed in the next couple of years, the Phillies might not have the cash to develop a contender. We’ve seen in the past that the modern way to win is to develop strengths in all facets of the game, as well as create an identity that you can stake your claim with.
There are so many areas to improve upon, beginning with the pitching staff, both starting and relief. Archie Bradley is a good move, but one arm doesn’t patch the hole. Two to four arms are going to be needed, including another established frontline starter. There’s work to be done in the outfield and middle infield, as well as at first base if Rhys Hoskins doesn’t improve his product on the field.
Dumping $115 million into a 30-year-old catcher is a risk already, but now the team may have created two problems by solving one. Only time will tell.