Contract Extension Update Regarding All-Star Phillies Catcher
Ever since the calendar flipped to 2020, one of the primary extension candidates around baseball has been Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto was traded to the Phillies from the division rival Miami Marlins in February 2019. The right-handed catcher would be heading into his age-29 season this year.
Additionally, Realmuto has one season remaining before hitting free agency presumably. Currently, the catcher is on a one-year deal worth $10 million dollars. However, the Phillies are committed to winning long-term and Realmuto is one of the primary pieces to help make that happen.
As a result, there has been a lot of speculation about when a possible extension could happen. Monday Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak offered an update on the situation to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“We still love the player… But there’s a lot of uncertainty in the game right now on a variety of levels.”
Phillies GM Matt Klentak addressed J.T. Realmuto's contract situation on Monday. https://t.co/eqQ8rUT4K9
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 29, 2020
Changing State of Baseball
As Klentak noted in his remarks, the state of baseball is changing. As Klentak stated, “The landscape that we left in March is different from the one we return to now.” With the current Coronavirus pandemic, there is a lot of unknowns around baseball right now. For instance, will J.T. Realmuto even hit free agency after this year? That is a big unknown for the Phillies.
Furthermore, all thirty teams around baseball are in sort of a financial flux right now. Ownership groups around the game have lost money given that games haven’t been played and fans haven’t been in attendance. In addition, ownership groups have accepted the fact that there will be losses. Although, only time will tell how that influences their spending decisions in the future.
Until some of those things become more concrete, the Phillies can’t forge ahead with Realmuto. The Phillies must have a clear understanding of what will happen with Realmuto’s contract and have their finances up to par first hand.
Realmuto’s Role with Philadelphia
To say J.T. Realmuto is a valued member of the Phillies is an understatement. In today’s interview, Matt Klentak went onto say, “We still love the player, we’d still love to have him in red pinstripes for the long haul.” Philadelphia knows they have a special catcher from both an offensive and defensive perspective on their big league roster.
Realmuto concluded last season with a .275/.328/.493 over 593 plate appearances or 145 games. In that span, the catcher recorded 148 hits, 36 doubles, three triples, 25 home runs, 83 RBI, nine stolen bases, 41 walks, and 123 strikeouts. Add all of that together and it equaled a 4.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) value along with Realmuto’s first career Silver Slugger Award.
Behind the dish, Realmuto is just as valuable. He concluded the 2019 regular season with a Caught Stealing Percentage (CS%) of 47%. This is much higher than the league average of 26%. Additionally, J.T. Realmuto accumulated 12 Defensive Runs Saved, the highest value of his six-year big league career, and had a pitch-framing value of 8.0.
For the Phillies, having J.T. Realmuto behind the dish for the foreseeable future could be the difference between contending and winning or not contending and losing. That’s why it is so imperative that the Phillies reach a long-term agreement with him. However, much greater detail must be provided regarding finances and free agency before that can happen.
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