Last March, just a few months after acquiring him in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the St. Louis Cardinals inked first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to a five-year/$130 million extension. That moment increasingly feels relevant to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies elected to have J.T. Realmuto, who they acquired a couple months after the Cardinals landed Goldschmidt, play out his second to last season of arbitration without working on a long-term deal. Now, after a monster 2019 season, Realmuto’s camp appears to be using Goldschmidt’s deal as a comp as the two sides attempt to hammer out a long-term deal.
According to Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Realmuto is seeking a deal similar to the one that Goldschmidt signed. If a deal isn’t reached, Realmuto, who is celebrating his 29th birthday Wednesday, can become a free agent after the conclusion of the 2020 season.
This is the second time in as many weeks that we’ve heard that Goldschmidt’s deal is one that Realmuto’s representatives believe is in line with the type of deal he should ultimately garner. Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM seemed to think last week that Goldschmidt’s deal was the minimum of what his team was seeking, even suggesting he may attempt to top the $161 million total that Buster Posey got as part of an eight-year extension in March of 2018.
From here, the idea of topping the total amount of Posey’s deal is probably unrealistic, even if he were to hit the free agent market after the 2020 season. However, a deal in the neighborhood of Goldschmidt’s seems entirely possible.
Of course, there would be a level of risk in signing a catcher to a massive five-year that begins in his age-30 season. But what other option do the Phillies have? They traded No. 1 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez to the division-rival Miami Marlins to acquire him and he was the best overall player on the team a season ago. The Phillies simply cannot afford to lose him. Realmuto may want to remain in Philadelphia, but he’s going to be a really good player regardless of what team it’s for.
So, as we wait on extension talks to potentially heat up while Spring Training – and eventually the regular season – is suspended, know this – Realmuto’s camp has the leverage. The Phillies need Realmuto more than Realmuto needs the Phillies. And you can’t bet that isn’t lost on his agent, Jeff Barry.
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