The Philadelphia Phillies are entering dangerous territory with J.T. Realmuto. If they lose out on him, they have a pretty solid backup option.
The Philadelphia Phillies are coming off another campaign of missing out on a postseason berth. Now, they have to set their focus on retaining one particular player in catcher J.T. Realmuto. The tea acquired him from the Miami Marlins back in 2019, and they realized a new contract was hanging in the balance. The organization even received pressure from Bryce Harper, who pleaded publicly for them to re-sign Realmuto this winter. The Phillies did place an $18.6 million qualifying offer on Realmuto, which he expectedly declined, as he’s slated to make north of $20 million on an annual basis.
There are plenty of teams that are in need of an everyday catcher who can hit home runs and provide quality defense behind the plate. That will only increase his asking price, and the Phillies could end up proverbially striking out. Fret not, Phillies fans. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t sign Realmuto, because James McCann is on the open market.
Phillies can still land a solid catcher
McCann started off his career with the Detroit Tigers, whom selected him in the second-round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He spent a grand total of five seasons in the Motor City, but never received any individual accolades. After hitting free agency, he signed on with the Chicago White Sox, the team who selected him in the 31st-round of the 2008 draft.
In 2019, McCann earned a spot on the AL All-Star team, the first of his career. He played 118 games that season, where he hit 18 home runs and 60 RBI, while recording a .273 batting average and a .789 OPS
McCann would take a bit of a backseat at catching duties this past season due to the signing of Yasmani Grandal. Even in his limited action, McCann was solid at the plate, where he slashed .289/.360/.536, which are all career-highs. Additionally, he managed to record seven home runs, 15 RBI, 28 hits and 20 runs scored.
As for catching, McCann managed to post a fielding percentage of .985, which is slightly lower than Realmuto’s .993. That’s still a pretty solid number for McCann, who played in six less games than Realmuto. Hey, McCann was named a 2020 Gold Glove finalist for a reason.
The Phillies will have to act quickly, because teams that lose out on Realmuto will quickly pivot to negotiating with McCann. In turn, McCann’s price will increase due to the importance of having a quality catcher. If the Phillies can’t strike a deal with McCann, then they are in serious trouble. Without above average starting catching, you’re doomed. But hey, at least Philadelphia gets a compensatory draft pick for losing Realmuto! That’s cool, but won’t be an immediate solution for an organization looking to contend in 2021.