Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto was in the area Monday to accept the award for Pro Athlete of the Year at the annual Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet. While in Cherry Hill, the media had a chance to ask him about his upcoming arbitration hearing with the Phillies.
“I know it’s just a business,” Realmuto said. It’s not me against the Phillies. It’s the system we’re trying to fight right now. I am trying to set a precedent for the future of catchers in our game. I feel like I had a season that is worthy of doing that, so I am going to fight for it.”
On the January 10 arbitration deadline, Realmuto’s camp filed at $12.4 million. The Phillies filed at $10 million. No matter the results of the case, Realmuto will set the record for the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible catcher.
The system Realmuto refers to is the arbitration process that tends to undervalue catchers. Jeff Berry, Realmuto’s agent, is known as one of the strongest advocates for players in the industry. Realmuto and his representatives see this hearing as an opportunity to reset the catcher’s market so that in the future, catchers are more likely to be paid their worth.
The arbitration hearings are not expected to deter both signs from inking a long-term deal. Realmuto expressed interest for a new deal in the past, and the Phillies have made their desires to lock up the best catcher in baseball long-term known.
It’ll be interesting to see how the case plays out—which will occur sometime in February. No matter what the results are, however, you can expect Realmuto will continue to suit up in red pinstripes for the foreseeable future.
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