Back during the 2020-21 offseason, the Phillies re-signed All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to a record-breaking five-year, $115.5 million contract. The contract carried an annual value of $23.1 million, the highest AAV ever for a catcher at the time. The Phillies wanted to lock him in while in his prime so that the ballclub could become strong contenders for an extended period.
Realmuto has responded with solid seasons in both 2021 and 2022, helping lead the Phillies last year right into a successful postseason in which they made it all the way to the World Series. In addition, he had been strong defensively as well, especially in 2022 when he won a Gold Glove with an 11 DRS while throwing out over 40 percent of the baserunners trying to steal off of him.
However, in 2023, Realmuto may have started to take a small step backward in terms of his production and performance. His RBI, batting average and OPS numbers were the lowest since his early years with the Miami Marlins. He also set a career-high in strikeouts in a single season with 138.
Defensively, he was still throwing out runners at a 22 percent success rate, but baserunners have attempted to steal off of him 104 times, with 81 of them being successful. As a result, baserunners were beginning to take advantage of his weakened ability to throw runners out. Not only that, his -4 DRS was the lowest mark he had recorded since his 2016 season.
Realmuto will be 33 when the 2024 MLB season gets underway. So perhaps the Phillies may want to ensure they have a solid backup in place. If they can give Realmuto more rest in the coming years, they may be able to maximize his effectiveness and slow down his potential regression as much as possible.
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