Bryce Harper: ‘J.T. Realmuto Needs to be Our Catcher Next Year’
The Phillies lost on Sunday, ending their season with no postseason berth for the ninth straight season.
Now the hard part begins.
The Phillies have some key decisions to make, but none bigger than trying to resign free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto.
But if it was up to Bryce Harper, there is no decision to make here, the Phillies need to sign Realmuto.
"J.T. Realmuto needs to be our catcher next year," Harper said on Sunday. "Plain and simple. He's the best catcher in baseball. He is the best hitting catcher in baseball, our pitchers love throwing to him."
Realmuto is considered one of the top catchers in baseball, both offensively and defensively, and will have plenty of suitors this offseason. Two teams that could come calling Realmuto are inside the N.L. East, the Mets and Nationals.
It would be a disaster for the Phillies to lose Realmuto inside the divison, and consider what they gave up to get him, prized pitcher Sixto Sanchez, it would be a crippling blow to lose him for nothing.
The Phillies have plenty of decisions to make, in addition to Realmuto, they have to decide on GM Matt Klentak's future. Reports have suggested he needed to make the playoffs to be retained, that didn't happen.
The team also needs to make a decision on shortstop Didi Gregorius, who played well, but was on a 1-year prove it deal. He played well enough to consider bringing back, but at what cost and how many other suitors will he have.
They will need to entirely revamp their historically bad bullpen and find arms to replace Jake Arrieta and Vince Velasquez in the start rotation.
The Phillies have a lot of decisions to make, one of them should be easy - pulling the plug on Klentak.
Once that happens the new GM can work on a deal for Realmuto, but it won't be easy, but he will at least knows he has Harpers blessing.