What a day it’s been. While most of us were slipping and sliding on icy roads, Matt Klentak and Gabe Kapler were introducing their newest acquisition, catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Some notes and reaction from the press conference, beginning with GM Klentak:
“In acquiring JT, we’ve acquired best catcher in baseball. Our organization is excited. Top to bottom thrilled to add JT. Not just on field, but as teammate & leader. Thrilled to have him…”
- Realmuto was asked about what he knew about the Phillies organization, to which he responded by talking about it being a storied franchise and that past players had nothing but good things to say about the organization.
- He was then asked about why he chose the #10 jersey. He said his options were 10, 38, and 39. He did not cite any past players to wear the number for the team, but said he liked the #10 more than 38 and 39.
When asked about whether this season was different considering the trade rumors, he said:
“It was a different offseason for me and my wife. We spent more time on social media than normal, looking for scoops… I’m happy with the outcome.”
The next couple of questions were related to the difficulty of hitting at Marlins Park, his .300+ average on the road, and how he thinks he’ll do hitting at Citizens Bank Park. Realmuto said it’s tough to hit at Marlins Park, he’s glad to no longer have to crush a ball into the outfield, only to get robbed by Odubel Herrera, and that he thinks he’ll do well in Philly. He also admitted to putting too much pressure on himself:
“I tried to do too much in Marlins Park, which over time can cause problems. Playing in a more hitter-friendly park will help.”
On the Phillies pitching staff, after the jump:
“Definitely studied all of them from facing multiple arms. [The all have] good, electric stuff. The entire rotation has quality and has gotten better… They’ve all drastically improved… I’m gonna help mold them.”
Asked if there’s any additional pressure to succeed in a new city with a better team:
“Not necessarily pressure. I just wanna prove myself… Looking forward to challenge.”
On committing to a long-term future with the Phillies:
“Honestly, I haven’t had the chance to think about it. The last week’s gone by so fast. Everything I’ve heard [about the organization] has been amazing… We’ll see in the future.”
Realmuto emphasized the importance of the catcher/pitcher relationship and how he intends on building those relationships quickly.
He was then asked if he had been told of any potential deals this off-season. He said that he believed a move was close three or four times and that multiple reporters in Miami would text him that something was close. He intimated that the process was exhausting and ultimately the finalized move was exciting.
Gabe Kapler was asked if he’s envisioned where Realmuto would slot into the lineup:
“J.T. can hit in a lot of places in the lineup [including the] heart of lineup… Teams can’t bring in a right-handed slider guy to get him out. He’s so athletic he can hit anywhere in the lineup.
Matt Klentak emphasized the importance of acquiring a guy like Realmuto:
“It’s no secret we value guys who can play regularly. It’s hard to find that in a catcher because of the position. When you have a guy like this who’s as strong as he his with the mentality he’s gonna be out there EVERY DAMN DAY (it’s a great addition).”
Klentak on discussing free agents with J.T. –
“I’ve been down here 48 hours. I haven’t discussed free agents with JT. This acquisition doesn’t preclude us from pursuing free agents. There are certain times of the year where there’s activity. We know there are some pretty good free agents out there. If it makes sense, we’ll pursue it.”
Other random notes:
- For what it’s worth, Realmuto did say he’d love to have a guy like Bryce Harper on the team.
- Gabe Kapler talked about the importance of keeping J.T. healthy, while J.T. reiterated his mentality and desire to play 162 games while noting the improbability of that.
- Realmuto mentioned that he wasn’t necessarily surprised that the Phillies ultimately made the move for him. He said that throughout the winter he had conversations about potential teams, but wouldn’t believe any of it until he received confirmation by phone.
- He also said that while some of his former teammates have gone onto find success with other teams, he focused on his own game and the task at hand for the Marlins.
- He had great conversations with Rhys Hoskins while on the Japan trip and that Rhys was a great teammate then and he looks forward to being his teammate going forward.
- He stated that some seasons in Miami were tough, especially when the team was out of contention by the start of the summer, but he always worked hard to play the right way in what some would call meaningless games late in the season.
- Realmuto has caught a bullpen session with Aaron Nola and a sidebar with Vince Velasquez.
- After learning of the trade, he drove through the night – 17 hours total – and switched in the morning with his wife. He said the bags had already been packed, they just needed to know where he’d be playing.
Here’s the full presser:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 12, 2019