The Philadelphia Phillies are a rebuilding team. With needs at many positions, it will take some time to get this team back into contention. Like many sports teams, the Phillies need that one star to lead their team. They have Bryce Harper, and now they have J.T. Realmuto. He has become a star since joining Philadelphia in 2018.
Seeing the star power Realmuto brings, the Phillies needed to lock him up on a long-term deal. He is one of the best catchers in baseball and could be a building block for this team going forward. The Phillies made sure to secure their star of the future on a friendly deal for both sides.
J.T. Realmuto has become a star in Philly
The seven-year catcher has played pretty well for most of his baseball career. He started with the Miami Marlins, playing with them for four seasons. In February of 2019, the Marlins traded him to the Phillies. Since Realmuto arrived in Philadelphia, he’s taken his game to another level.
Realmuto’s game is complete, making him one of the MLB’s best catchers. He leads the majors in wins above replacement (WAR) with 10.1, RBIs (189), and stolen bases (16) over the past two seasons, per ESPN. In the shortened pandemic season, Realmuto hit .266 with 16 home runs and 32 RBIs. The most impressive stat is that he only produced to errors the entire season.
His two seasons in Philly have treated Realmuto well. He won the 2019 Golden Glove Award for his outstanding efforts in the field. Realmuto also captured the Silver Slugger Award in the same season. He just missed the cut for being a Golden Glove finalist in 2020, which many consider to be a snub. Realmuto ranks second in the majors slugging percentage (.489) and OPS (.825) since 2018. He ranks third in home runs (57) in that same span.
Always being thought of as one of the top catchers in baseball, J.T. Realmuto has become a superstar in the city of brotherly love. His performance the past two seasons convinced the Phillies that he is worth keeping long-term for this franchise rebuild.
The Phillies sign Realmuto to a new contract
Philadelphia and Realmuto had an arbitration case before last season, as Realmuto wanted a raise in his salary. He ended up losing the case and didn’t sign a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer because he desired a long-term contract in the free-agent market. The Phillies knew they had to get their man, and they did.
Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Phillies and Realmuto agreed on a new contract, keeping him in Philly for the foreseeable future. The deal is five-years and worth $115.5 million. Realmuto becomes the first catcher to sign a deal worth $100 million or more in free agency. He also joins a shortlist of catchers inking a deal over $100 million: Joe Mauer and Buster Posey.
Now that Realmuto is locked up, the Phillies can focus on other areas of their team that need work. Their bullpen needs another starter, something that Realmuto would appreciate. The team also needs a shortstop. Philadelphia has their two big stars in Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, but now have to fill out the rest of their roster.
“I love this organization. They’ve been great to me and my family since I showed up. From top to bottom, they’re good people, and they care about baseball. That’s important to me,” said Realmuto per ESPN.
This contract is a win-win for both sides
Realmuto and the Phillies have to feel really good about this contract. It’s set up so Realmuto receives the money he deserves as the best catcher majors, and the Phillies get to have his talents for most of his prime. By the time his contract expires, both sides should have a grasp on how they feel the remainder of Realmuto’s career is going to play out.
For Realmuto, this contract is a historic one. His five-year deal has an annual average value of $23.1 million. That is the highest annual average for any catcher in MLB history. He’s proven he is the best in the game, and now he is getting paid like it. Being 29-years old, the contract will expire when he is 34. Realmuto wins because of the annual average, setting the new standard for catchers.
The Phillies can get an elite talent for the majority of their prime years. Since they are in rebuilding mode, it will be at least two years before Philly is competitive enough to fight for a World Series. This gives them the chance to see if Realmuto can elevate the team where they expect to be. He has the capabilities to, which is why the Phillies gave him this deal. If nothing great happens after five years, they can let him walk and wipe their hands clean.
J.T. Realmuto will be paid as the best catcher in the game, something that has been associated with him for a while. The Philadelphia Phillies secure another franchise cornerstone for their rebuild. Both sides are happy and ready to get the Phillies back into contention.
Stats courtesy of ESPN