Last off-season, the Phillies made a franchise altering trade when they acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins. It was in this move that the team dealt catcher Jorge Alfaro, and prospect pitcher Sixto Sanchez among other assets. A year later, not only is Realmuto one of the best catchers, the two time Silver slugger award recipient is also a fan favorite.
All is well, right? Think again. Prior to Friday’s deadline, it was reported Realmuto, along with pitcher Héctor Neris, would file for arbitration. This is after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a contract for next season. This is a problem for several reasons.
For one, Realmuto is one of the top catchers in the game. There is a reason Matt Klentak pulled the trigger on a deal to bring him to Philadelphia last February. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, or some sort of extension, Realmuto could potentially leave in free agency upon the conclusion of this season. Although this is the worst-case scenario, the Phillies must play this negotiation process safe, as they do not have another catcher who will be ready to step into his place.
Also, since the Phillies gave up a hefty package to get Realmuto, it would be a busted deal if the Phillies only got two years of his services. It also doesn’t help that Miami, the team the Phillies made the trade with, is within the division. Sixto Sanchez has yet to make his major league debut, and Jorge Alfaro is a young and upcoming catcher in this league. It would not be a good look if Realmuto signs elsewhere.
Last but not least, Realmuto has already started to form a bond with a number of young pictures on the staff. It would be quite difficult for the organization to find a catcher with J T’s skill set and demeanor.
Ever since the Phillies traded Carlos Ruiz in 2016, they have been searching for a catcher who can lead them into the next generation. It appears Realmuto can be that guy. The Phillies should act quickly, and due diligently to make sure this dispute is brought under control. If it were me, I would want to get a deal done as soon as possible.