As the free agency period has moved along at a snail’s pace, a few of the top names are now off the table. George Springer signed for $150 million over six years with the Toronto Blue Jays, while D.J. LeMahieu finally re-signed with the New York Yankees for $90 million over six years. That leaves catcher J.T. Realmuto as the top man left that is unsigned.
The Phillies appear to be in the best position to sign J.T. Realmuto, who indicated all along that he enjoyed his last two years in Philadelphia and wanted to come back into the middle of the lineup behind Bryce Harper. The Phillies have offered J.T. Realmuto $110 million over five years, but now there is wonder if he will try to get an extra year in the deal.
There is also word that the Atlanta Braves have interest in Realmuto, but how real is that interest? After all, the team already has Travis d’Arnaud, who hit .321 with nine home runs and 34 RBI last season. Potentially both d’Arnaud and Realmuto could fit in Atlanta should the designated hitter be used. More likely, this is just a ploy from the agent to get the Phillies back to negotiating, thinking they could lose out to a division rival. The Phillies are in desperate need to sign J.T. Realmuto after an off season in which they have done little, with the exception of three bullpen signings. After a horrendous performance from the bullpen last year, the addition Archie Bradley, Sam Coonrod and Jose Alvarado, while not top of the line pitchers, are an upgrade.
The Braves “interest” in Realmuto is far from a sure thing, so the Phillies still have the upper hand in bringing back the best catcher in the league.