According to reports, top-tier free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto has re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Craig Mish of MLB.com was the first to report the deal.
The Philadelphia Phillies and JT Realmuto are in agreement on a 5 year $115.5 million dollar contract. Pending physical. Per source.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) January 26, 2021
Realmuto was the best offensive and defensive catcher available in free agency. However, he did deal with a hip injury with the Philadelphia Phillies last September and had surgery on his right knee following the 2019 regular season. In total, Realmuto caught 47 games for Philadelphia in 2020.
The Good Regarding J.T. Realmuto
As mentioned previously, Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball right now. Despite dealing with those injuries, he has a solid bat, provides stellar defense and throwing ability behind the dish, and knows how to call a very good game. All of those things will help benefit him moving forward. During his age-29 season in 2020, he hit .266/.349/.491 with 46 hits, 11 home runs, and 32 RBI over the span of 195 plate appearances.
He won two Silver Slugger Awards in 2018 and 2019 because of his offense. In addition, the two-time All-Star Realmuto finished the 2019 season 14th overall in National League Most Valuable Player voting. He also won a Gold Glove that season. Given that Realmuto is 30-years old and in the midst of his prime, he likely has several good seasons left in the tank.
Beyond those qualities and accolades, Realmuto brings his new team a positive veteran leadership both on and off the field. He has played in the major leagues for seven seasons now and is seasoned when it comes to leading young players and pitchers. While baseball is a team sport, having a leader in the mix like Realmuto is extremely valuable and will pay off huge dividends in the long run.
The biggest downside for Realmuto moving forward will be his health and durability. The two aforementioned injuries are proof of why those are legitimate concerns. Over his major league career, he has almost 6,000 innings behind the dish under his belt (5,676 and two-thirds innings to be exact). The Phillies started Realmuto for eight games in the Designated Hitter spot and two games over at first base in 2020. That was likely to prevent any further injuries from occurring to his hip. While he is 30 years old and likely has several impact seasons left, this is something to monitor moving forward.
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Player Mentioned: J.T. Realmuto