From DJ LeMahieu to Trevor Bauer, there are a boatload of intriguing talents on the 2020 Major League Baseball free agent market. Philadelphia Phillies backstop J.T. Realmuto is arguably the top free agent. The catcher recently declined Philly’s qualifying offer, making him a free agent. But this also opens the opportunity to give him a long-term deal.
At 29 years old, the two-time All-Star is clearly looking for a hefty payday. Totally fair though, considering he has been the best all-around catcher in the big leagues over the last few years. Realmuto is very deserving of a multi-year contract. With many different teams vying for his talents behind the dish and at the plate, the Phillies should be doing everything in their power to keep Realmuto.
A Building Block for the Franchise
The Phillies haven’t finished above .500 since 2011, when they won the National League East. They finished 28-32 this past season and 81-81 the one prior. Even with the additions of Bryce Harper and Realmuto, it still wasn’t enough to guide the Phillies to the postseason. However, Realmuto has been very consistent in a Phillies uniform. In his debut season in 2019 he was named an All-Star after hitting .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. Realmuto also won a Gold Glove after throwing out 47 percent of base stealers, which led the NL.
Although 2020 was a bit of a down year for him offensively, it’s hard to really make any assumptions considering they played just 60 games. In 47 contests Realmuto hit .266 with 11 bombs, which is still very respectable. Over the last three campaigns he has compiled slugging percentages of .484, .493, and .491 while also posting on-base percentages of well over .300 during that span. Realmuto doesn’t draw a ton of walks, but he gets on base. Whether he’s slashing a single to the opposite field or smacking a double in the gap, Realmuto is an offensive dream for any MLB organization.
The 29-year-old has been a very consistent player both offensively and defensively throughout his career. There aren’t many catchers in the game who possess all five tools. Realmuto can do it all at the plate, and considering how much wear and tear his lower body takes from being behind the dish, he also runs very well, swiping nine bags last season.
Lock Him Up, Along With Other Free Agents
Realmuto isn’t the only Phillies player on the free agent market. They’ve yet to sign the likes of Jake Arrieta and Didi Gregorius, as well, who are both vital pieces of this franchise if they want any chance at actually contending in the NL.
This is simply a no-brainer for Philadelphia. Pay J.T. Realmuto what he deserves because his production is unmatched. There is no better catcher in the game right now. At his current age, he is certainly in his prime. They already traded away a top-notch arm in Sixto Sanchez to the Miami Marlin to acquire the Gold Glover. At least cash in and lock Realmuto up for the foreseeable future.
For Philly’s sake, they’ll have to pray that New York Mets owner Steve Cohen doesn’t offer Realmuto a deal he can’t refuse because it will be very difficult to replace such a premier backstop.