If you haven’t been living under a rock, you should know by now that the Phillies have agreed to terms on a five-year/$115.5 million contract with star catcher J.T. Realmuto. Barring a trade in the first couple of years, Realmuto will have a chance to solidify himself as one of the best catchers to ever don red pinstripes.
Depending on who you ask, five years is either an eternity or a drop in the bucket. Nevertheless, the Phillies roster will look dramatically different in the year 2025, the final year of Realmuto’s deal.
Bryce Harper will still be a big part of this team, regardless of how well he ages as a hitter. But who else could still be apart of the core? A lot of it depends on where the Phillies are in their competitive window and how Dave Dombrowski manages the roster in his remaining four years in charge.
If the Phillies finally achieve some success with their current crop of players, perhaps a few players carve out lengthy careers with the team. On the other end, more of the same could lead to another deep rebuild, resulting in a fire sale that leaves Realmuto and Harper as the only seasoned veterans on the Phillies roster.
With that, here is a look at which Phillies players could be on the roster in the final year of Realmuto’s contract.
Each player is listed alongside their age on April 1, 2025.
You can bet on it: Bryce Harper (32)
Harper signed for 13 years. He’ll probably play professional baseball in South Philadelphia for 13 years.
Probably good enough to still be here: Alec Bohm (28) and Spencer Howard (28)
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard are all set to become free agents after the 2026 season. Even in a small sample size, it’s hard to see a player like Bohm, who was tied for second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2020, fizzling out of the organization entirely. He could be the team’s most valuable trade chip on offense if the Phillies find themselves in rebuild mode. In all honesty, he’s probably more likely to make the All-Star team in 2026 when the Phillies are scheduled to host the game as opposed to being out of the organization entirely by 2025.
Howard’s case is more nuanced. He’s still the organization’s No. 1 prospect according to most outlets who are in the business of evaluating farm systems but there’s not a lot of confidence surrounding him heading into 2021. There are some injury concerns and his much-anticipated rookie season was far from spectacular. Howard could end up being a solid No.2/3 starter but even if he performs closer to his floor, there’s a good chance he’ll still be on the team come 2025. Think about it: Vince Velasquez, whose spot in the rotation is consistently up for grabs, is heading into his sixth season with the Phillies.
If the Phillies continue to fail to develop pitching from within, Howard will only have to be as good and as healthy as Velasquez to keep his job. He’s got the stuff to carve out a six-year career in the major leagues at the bare minimum. It’s a matter of whether or not he can stay healthy. The Phillies, however, are hoping and expecting much more from the 24-year-old.
It could be one or the other, or neither… or both: Aaron Nola (31) and Rhys Hoskins (32)
There’s a very real chance that the decision to retain Aaron Nola could go hand-in-hand with what they want to do with Rhys Hoskins and vice versa.
You can argue that the best move Matt Klentak ever made as general manager was signing Nola to a four-year contract extension in 2019. The downside is that it left Klentak’s successor with a dilemma.
Nola’s deal is up after the 2022 season. He has a very affordable $16 million club option for 2023. Barring an absolute disaster, the Phillies will probably pick it up.
Hoskins is also set to hit free agency in 2023. The Phillies first baseman is a candidate for an extension but signing him to one is more complicated than it seems. He’s represented by Scott Boras, who has a reputation for getting clients to free agency and letting them establish their value on the market. Whether Bohm could stick at third base or not will also directly affect Hoskins’ long-term future in the organization.
Boras once called pre-arbitration mega-extensions, the ones signed by players like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Blake Snell, “snuff contracts.” While Hoskins isn’t in line for a payday similar to Acuña’s, Boras probably wouldn’t be a fan of Dombrowski coming to him and attempting to buy out the first two years of Hoskins’ free agency for a price below market value, which is essentially what they did with Nola.
If Nola continues to pitch like an ace in the next three years, he should command between 25 to $30 million a year once his deal is up. In 2023, the Phils will have at least three contracts on the books that combine for just over $75 million. Assuming Hoskins is closer to the player he was in 2020 as opposed to the second half of 2019, could they afford to add both Nola and Hoskins at full-price? Probably. Will they? I would be surprised if they do.
But all of this is a moot point if the Phillies are staring down the barrel of another rebuild in 2023. Both will probably be traded at some point that year.
It’s a sobering thought if you’re a Phillies fan. Thankfully, that debacle is years away.
Both sides could re-up: Zack Wheeler (34)
Zack Wheeler signed a five-year/$118 million contract in December 2019. So far, Wheeler has been worth the money. He went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 71 innings pitched in 2020.
He’s signed through 2024 and believe it or not, the former Met has a chance to carve out a Wall of Fame-worthy career as a Phillie.
If Wheeler can replicate this season over 162-games once or twice over the span of the deal, the Phillies will be in good shape. He might not be the same pitcher on the back-end of the deal but if he provides average production in year five, the Phillies could re-sign him for a lesser price.Embed from Getty Images
There’s a chance: Zach Eflin (30)
If the Phillies sign anyone to a contract extension this offseason, it should be Zach Eflin. A 3.97 ERA in 59 innings doesn’t sound so impressive but if you watched the 26-year-old pitch, you knew something was different.
He experienced the third-highest year-to-year increase in strikeout rate (18.3% to 28.6%) among 2020 pitchers who threw at least 30 innings, according to Statcast. He embraced pitching to his strengths, locating his sinker with precision and adding more bite to his curveball.
Eflin spoke often about the confidence he had in both himself and his stuff all throughout the season. He grew up as a pitcher in 2020 and because of that, the Phillies will count on him to be a rock in the middle of the rotation.
Eflin still has so much to prove: He hasn’t thrown more than 163 1/3 innings in a full season and left-handed hitters still get the best of him. But new Phillies pitching coach Caleb Cotham said earlier this offseason that there were three guys in the rotation who could go out and win a Cy Young Award. Eflin was that third guy.
If the rest of the organization feels that highly of Eflin, why shouldn’t the Phillies commit to him and hand him an arbitration extension? He’ll become a free agent after the 2022 season and if the Phillies believe their window of contention stretches beyond his years of control, they should ensure their third-best pitcher is under contract for the entirety of that window.
The Phillies probably won’t commit five years to Eflin at this point in time but if he pitches well and the team is aiming to win, it wouldn’t be surprising if he found his way onto the team in 2025.
Wild Cards: José Alvarado (29) Connor Brogdon (30),Seranthony Domínguez (30), JoJo Romero (28), and Rafael Marchan (26)
Out of the group, Brogdon and Marchan probably have the best chance of sticking around. If his September proves to be far from a fluke, Brogdon could spend a half-decade in the back of the Phillies bullpen. Marchan could be an easy trade chip but if he’s still in the organization, he could be ready to succeed Realmuto as the team’s starting catcher in 2025.
Outta Here: Archie Bradley (32), Sam Coonrod (32), David Hale (37), Cole Irvin (31), Adonis Medina (28), Héctor Neris (35), Ranger Suarez (29), Vince Velasquez (32), Andrew Knapp (33), Scott Kingery (30), Jean Segura (35), Adam Haseley (28), Andrew McCutchen (38), Mickey Moniak (26), Roman Quinn (31)
A few players could still be playing in Philadelphia if they figure a few things out (Medina, Kingery, Haseley and Moniak) but for the most part, these players should be gone long before Realmuto enters the last year of his deal.
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