While we know that Jeff Berry, J.T. Realmuto’s agent, reached out to Dave Dombrowski earlier this month to congratulate him on being hired as Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations, it remains murky on how far down the road the club may be in negotiations for the two-time All-Star catcher.
Last week, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Phillies had “an offer on the table” for Realmuto. It wasn’t clear what the terms of that deal were, and whether said offer has existed since before Dombrowski and new general manager Sam Fuld were put into their current roles, but it represented some level of progress in what has seemingly been an extremely slow market.
However, John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia now says that while the two sides have “had conversations,” no formal offer exists from the Phillies to Realmuto yet.
By letting Realmuto reach the free-agent market, the Phillies bet that a trip into free agency would end up bringing his asking price back down to earth. MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki reported that at one stage, Realmuto’s camp was seeking a deal “in excess of $200 million.” When you consider that Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has projected that Realmuto will ultimately sign a five-year/$125 million, the offseason seemingly opened with a large bridge to gap.
The good news for the Phillies is that there doesn’t appear to be another suitor prepared to come off the top rope and blow Realmuto away with an offer. The New York Mets opted to sign James McCann instead, and while the division-rival Washington Nationals have reportedly shown interest, there’s no evidence that they are prepared to put on a full-court press for Realmuto. The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees could theoretically become more serious, though all indications are that both are focused more on DJ LeMahieu at this stage, and potentially George Springer in the case of the Blue Jays.
Whether this offseason ultimately ends with Realmuto remaining in red pinstripes or not is unclear. Apparently, it’s also unclear if a formal offer has been made, even if the Phillies seemingly are the favorites at this stage.
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