When new Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski spoke on Tuesday afternoon, he said that he had not yet held any contract negotiations with free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto and his camp.
But apparently things can change rather quickly during the offseason.
The team has “an offer on the table” for Realmuto, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported later on Tuesday night. Heyman added that it’s unclear if any other teams have made offers to Realmuto.
This report came just hours after Dombrowski met with reporters on a Zoom call to introduce Sam Fuld as his new general manager and Jorge Velandia as assistant general manager for the Phillies. During the meeting, the long-time executive revealed that Realmuto’s agent, Jeff Berry, had actually called him on the phone the day before.
“It really was not a negotiation,” Dombrowski said, “it was a ‘Welcome to the Phillies organization.’ I’ve known Jeff Berry for a long time and talked to him, he welcomed me aboard and we talked about my family and talked about his family and said that we would stay in contact. I expressed to him, again, how much we’d love to have J.T. on board, and that’s really where it ended at that point.”
While Dombrowski may not have made an offer during that initial call with Realmuto’s agent, it appears that discussions have advanced between the two parties. Perhaps said offer has been on the table before Dombrowski was even hired.
A reunion between the Phillies and the catcher they traded for before the 2019 season makes a ton of sense from an on-field perspective. Realmuto, a two-time All-Star, is the best catcher on the market — and probably the entire sport. The Phillies have no clear alternative ready to take his spot in 2021.
If the Phillies’ offer is on par with what Realmuto expects this offseason, it would not be a surprise to see him return to Philadelphia. Dombrowski has already made it known that he would like to see it happen.
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