After well over a year’s worth of negotiating, it appears that J.T. Realmuto and the Philadelphia Phillies are finally nearing an agreement on a longterm extension. Nothing is set and stone quite yet, but the growing sense around the league is that the best catcher in baseball will eventually re-sign with the Phillies. Jayson Stark of the Athletic reported that the Phillies have extended a five-year offer worth $100+ million to Realmuto, and MLB insider Bob Nightengale commented that “there’s certainly a groundswell of optimism for a Realmuto return to Philadelphia.”
Re-signing J.T. Realmuto gives the Philadelphia Phillies direction.
A team like the Toronto Blue Jays (who were reportedly in on the likes of Francisco Lindor and DJ LeMahieu, and remain interested in CF George Springer) could certainly come over the top with an offer so big that Realmuto simply can’t refuse, but ultimately speaking, this feels like the Phillies signing to lose. J.T. has long made public his desire to remain in Philadelphia alongside close friend Bryce Harper, and a majority of the catcher’s potential suitors have turned their attention elsewhere in free agency (Mets, Yankees, Nationals, Astros, etc.).
Adding Realmuto back into the Phillies lineup would be a massive win for Philadelphia, not much commentary is needed there. Not only is he by and large the best defensive catcher in baseball, but his .825 OPS over the last two seasons gives the Phils another weapon to utilize in the middle of their batting order – alongside the likes of Harper, Alec Bohm, and Rhys Hoskins.
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However, bringing back J.T. does much more than just help the Phillies roster, it gives the organization a clear and concise direction moving forward. Handing over $100+ million to the best catcher in the sport re-signals that the organization is actively trying to win in the coming years.
Following a disastrous couple seasons under the likes of Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak, people around the league weren’t really sure what to make of the Phillies. They had pushed all their chips in on the Bryce Harper signing, but then had failed – two years in a row – to surround him with the appropriate pieces to make a postseason run. With reports leaking directly after the 2020 season that owner John Middleton did not expect the team to re-sign Realmuto, the Phillies were in danger of being directionless.
With 2x World Series winner Dave Dombrowski now in charge, and Realmuto hopefully on his way back here soon, the Philadelphia Phillies have re-established themselves as a potential playoff contender moving forward. They just added a strong bullpen piece in Archie Bradley, and have been linked to a handful of starting-caliber shortstops.
With their newfound direction, and a couple more additions here and there, the Phillies could find themselves in a Wild Card game come October – their first postseason appearance since 2011.