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J.T. Realmuto says his camp is talking extension with Phillies


J.T. Realmuto is entering his second season with the Phillies. (Ian D’Andrea)

This isn’t especially shocking news, but Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said Thursday that his representatives at CAA Sports are indeed discussing a potential long-term deal with the club.

Beyond that, Realmuto didn’t offer much in the way of insight into how said discussions may be going.

“There’s no update,” Realmuto told MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki. “We’re talking, but we’ll leave it at that.”

Realmuto will make $10 million in 2020 after losing his arbitration case to the Phillies last month. His camp had filed at a $12.4 million number. Though he had no issue critiquing the arbitration system – and how the Phillies may have taken advantage of what he views as a flawed system – Realmuto said that the loss in arbitration didn’t “change anything” in regards to his desire to remain in Philadelphia long-term.

Last February, the Phillies acquired Realmuto is one of the most impactful trades in franchise history, sending a package headlined by catcher Jorge Alfaro and No. 1 pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez to the division-rival Miami Marlins.

Realmuto had an excellent first season in Philadelphia, making his second consecutive All-Star team, while winning the National League Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove Award at catcher. The guess here is that Realmuto, who will turn 29 later this month, will target a five or six season season pact that pays him excess of $20 million per season and doesn’t count his 2020 arbitration salary as part of a new deal.

Prior to his arbitration hearing, general manager Matt Klentak reiterated a desire to sign Realmuto to a long-term extension at the outset of Spring Training.

“I try not to operate with hard deadlines or operate in absolutes, but yes it would be nice to have some sort of resolution prior to Opening Day just so it’s not a distraction, mostly to the player, but even to us during the season,” Klentak said to the collective media. “So that would be ideal, but by no means do I view that as a hard cap.”

“I still feel very strongly that I would like to do that [sign Realmuto to a long-term deal] – everyone in our organization does. J.T. is a really good player. I say that, I also would have hoped we would have settled his arbitration case by now, and that didn’t happen. Frankly, I hoped that if we had settled his arbitration case we would already be at the bargaining table on his extension talks, but as you know we have to do one before the other. So we have to wait before one before we can talk about the other. So once we have a resolution to the one-year number, we’ll come to the table and see if we can find common ground on a long-term deal. I hope that we can, and if we can’t, we could always continue those talks into the season and even into free agency if we have to.”

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