They got it done.
The Phillies and J.T. Realmuto, according to MLB Network contributor Craig Mish, are in agreement on a five-year deal:
The Philadelphia Phillies and JT Realmuto are in agreement on a 5 year $115.5 million dollar contract. Pending physical. Per source.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) January 26, 2021
Mish says the annual average value of $23.1 million is “highest ever for major league catcher in baseball history.” Earlier reports said that the Phillies were offering five years at slightly north of $100 million, and they were apparently only bidding against themselves. It seems like the Braves’ reported interest was bullshit considering that they are just fine at the catcher position and would look to spend money elsewhere.
But it’s a great win for the Phillies and fans for a few reasons.
First, John Middleton spending the money to keep Realmuto here signals that crying poor might have been a fleeting and pandemic-inspired thing. If they want to be competitive, they don’t have a choice but to spend money to build a roster that can tangle with the Mets and Braves.
Second, they were ultimately able to get done a deal that should have always been done, which will justify the Sixto Sanchez trade. If they had moved Sanchez and Jorge Alfaro only to let Realmuto walk, it would have gone down in the history books as an incredibly poor move.
Third, this keeps Bryce Harper and teammates happy. They really liked Realmuto and publicly lobbied for his return, and this should assuage whatever concerns existed in the locker room.
Things are looking up in Phillies land. Realmuto returns. The bullpen has been bolstered. If they re-sign Didi Gregorius and secure another starting pitcher then we might have a pretty good squad in 2021. Fingers crossed.