The Phillies are clearly not handling the JT Realmuto situation well. Reports this week from JT Realmuto were that the Phillies have not offered him an extension and fear is growing that the All-Star catcher might test the free agent market this offseason.
It is unclear why the Phillies are reluctant to offer Realmuto a contract as Matt Klentak has not made a statement on the Realmuto situation. If the Phillies front office doesn’t act soon, the Phils could potentially lose Realmuto to the division rival New York Mets, as they have expressed interest.
I could really see the Mets going all out this offseason to pry Realmuto away from Philadelphia, he is a perfect fit. The Mets have one of the top rotations in all of baseball and it is headlined by 2 time Cy Young award winner Jacob Degrom. The rotation also features Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaad, so to pair those 3 aces with the best defensive catcher in baseball would be a no brainer. The Mets are also in need of some offensive fire power to pair with young stars Pete Alonso (2019 NL ROY) and Jeff McNeil who were both All-Stars as rookies in 2019.
Realmuto would be the veteran presence the Mets lineup currently lacks, and the move would greatly weaken the Phillies. Mets fans have experienced greatness at the catcher position before with Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, so fans would most likely embrace JT from day 1. The Mets have changed catchers rather quickly over the years as they have had a lot of inconsistency in the past. Their catcher in 2019 was former Phillie Wilson Ramos, who has had a hard time staying healthy over the past few seasons.
The Phillies are playing a very dangerous game here because they really don’t have a plan B at the catcher position if they lose Realmuto this offseason. There is so few good catchers in today’s game and having one of the best in the league on your team should make signing him a priority.
The fear has to be that “catchers do not age well” as many elite catchers like Buster Posey and Joe Mauer, who are both former MVP’s, saw huge drop offs in production after they surpassed the 30-year-old threshold.
With JT Realmuto being 29 years old, lets compare other elite catchers stats from their age 29 season to their age 32 season to see how fast catchers can fall off. This also assumes that JT gets at least a 3-year deal this offseason.
Buster Posey (age 29): 146G/.288BA/14HR/80RBI/.362OBP All-Star, Gold Glove
Buster Posey (age 32): 114G/.257BA/7HR/38RBI/.320OBP
Posey aged rather quick as his age 32 season was last year and he only managed to play 114 games and was not much of an offensive threat for a rebuilding Giants team.
Joe Mauer (age 29): 147G/.319BA/10HR/85RBI/.416OBP All-Star, MVP-19
Joe Mauer (age 32): 158G/.265BA/10HR/66RBI/.338OBP
Mauer showed that he was still durable in his age 32 season as he played in 158 games, but he was playing first base some nights and also used as a DH. He did have a major drop off in batting average and on base percentage as he dropped over 50 points in both in just 3 years.
Matt Klentak should not be afraid of the potential drop off in statistics, Realmuto has only seemed to get better as a hitter as his career’s progressed. The Phillies risked their farm system to acquire JT and they would be silly to not extend him to be the franchise catcher. Trying to sign a player during the season can be very difficult in a contract year, so the Phillies letting this stay up in the air is a very dangerous game.