After Signing Realmuto, What’s Next for the Phillies?
Phillies fans all over the Delaware Valley finally got a bit of good news during what has been a very quiet off-season: the team signed catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Realmuto, considered by many to be the top catcher in baseball, gets a 5-year, $115.5 million deal, with an average value of $23.1 million, the largest deal ever signed by a catcher.
The one challenge for the team was Realmuto's age.
The all-star catcher will turn 30-years-old this March, but this deal will keep him in Philadelphia pretty much the rest of his career. He is one of the teams top pieces, not only for both his offense and his defense, but what he brings to the clubhouse as a leader.
Many times throughout this process it didn't seem likely that Realmuto would be back, with reports that he wanted a deal that would total over $200 million and seven years. However, Realmuto didn't find the market he was hoping for, and the Phillies came back into play. While there were some late reports that Atlanta was interested, the Phillies stepped up and got the deal done.
An interesting note per Jayson Stark of The Athletic in regards to the Realmuto contract. While his 2021 salary is $20 million, Realmuto and the Phillies agreed to defer $10 million of the deal, to help the team with COVID-19 issues.
With Realmuto back in the fold, the team, now needs to focus on what the will do at shortstop for the 2021 season. Three shortstops, Andrelton Simmons, Freddy Galvis and Marcus Semien all signed deals on Tuesday night, leaving Didi Gregorius a strong candidate to return. It has been reported by Jon Heyman of the MLB Network that Gregorius is seeking a 2-year, $30 million deal.
If the team is unable to strike a deal with Gregorius, they could turn back to Jean Segura to play shortstop, or slide of Scott Kingery over from second base. Former first-round pick Bryson Stott is thought to be at least a year away from being ready to be an everyday major league shortstop.
Other than shortstop, the team still needs to add more starting pitching and bullpen help, but time is running out. They have added some fresh faces to what was a historically bad bullpen, but the starting rotation is still the same as it was during the 2020 season.
Is bringing back Realmuto, and fixing the teams leaky bullpen enough to lead the Phillies back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011?
While the first day of pitchers and catchers has yet to be announced due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, the team is slated to open the Grapefruit League slate on Feb. 27 against the Toronto Blue Jays in Clearwater.