Phillies Reportedly “Not Optimistic” that J.T. Realmuto Will Return

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s shift from depressing Eagles stories to a depressing Phillies story.

With their season over, the Phils need about four relievers, a short stop, center fielder, and another starting pitcher. They’ll probably need a catcher as well, since J.T. Realmuto’s return seems incredibly iffy, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, who wrote the following in his 2020 offseason notebook:

“Realmuto is a lock to receive a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer, which must be made no later than five days following the final game of the World Series. Realmuto has 10 days to accept or reject the offer.

He will reject it. If he accepts it, he is no longer a free agent and is signed to a one-year deal with the Phillies. Realmuto is eyeing a record-shattering contract for a catcher, perhaps in the $200 million range. If he rejects the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the Phils will receive Draft pick compensation. It will be a small consolation prize, especially if they watch Miami’s Sixto Sánchez pitch against them for the next several years.

Regardless, the club is not optimistic that Realmuto will return.”

John Middleton spoke during his recent Zoom call about the lack of revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and absence of fans at Citizens Bank Park. He bluntly stated that the team won’t be able to determine what they can do from a money standpoint until they actually have an idea of what revenue is going to look like in 2021.

Realmuto will turn 30 in March, and that’s a factor also. It’s not like they’d be handing out a record deal to a guy in his mid-twenties, like they did with Bryce Harper two years ago. The other issue is that even if they give Realmuto a big pay day, they’ve got a ton of holes elsewhere in the roster, which means that they might be better trying to spread the money around to patch up the team vs. going bananas on one single player.

The thing that hurts, of course, is that they gave up Sanchez and a serviceable backup catcher in Jorge Alfaro to get him. Normally you’d never move a top prospect like that without knowing for sure that you would sign a guy like Realmuto to a long-term deal, which is what Middleton wanted all along. But the Phillies paused, then COVID hit, and now we’re in the current situation. It’s disappointing but not entirely surprising.

Zolecki’s notebook is a good read. Click on this sentence to check it out.

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