4 Phillies players the team should sign to contract extensions before Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper still wants a contract extension, but some other Phillies should get new deals first.

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is just one of the players the team needs to sign to a contract extension before Bryce Harper
Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is just one of the players the team needs to sign to a contract extension before Bryce Harper / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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The Phillies should extend J.T. Realmuto before Bryce Harper

J.T. Realmuto is one of the best all-around catchers in baseball. One of the elite game callers on the diamond, Realmuto's athleticism makes him one of the rare backstops who combines Gold Glove-caliber defense behind the plate, the bat of a Silver Slugger, and the type of legs that allow him to be a threat on the base paths.

Realmuto continues to be one of the core leaders on a Phillies team with playoff ambitions. His leadership and consistency have been one of the main factors in the team's run over the last few seasons. Even coming off what many view as a down 2023, Realmuto still hit .252 with 20 home runs, 63 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 135 games.

Last season saw Realmuto regress a bit behind the plate when it came to handling the running game. The pitch clock and larger bases gave baserunners a clear incentive to test Realmuto's elite pop time and rocket arm, and that will be something to follow during the 2024 season.

A free agent after next season, the Phillies should consider extending Realmuto before his contract expires. There's little to show that the 32-year-old won't be in stellar shape and perform at an above-average level. Unlike Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, his skill set is not easy to replace at the catcher position.

If the Phillies want to keep their competitive window open, players like J.T. Realmuto will be vital to have on the roster. Sure, Bryce Harper is one of the greatest players in the game right now. But the Phillies need to think about the near future, and signing a few of these players will be necessary to keep the Phillies competitive for years to come.

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