It took awhile, but the Phillies are finally prioritizing JT Realmuto in free agency.
Realmuto is the top free agent catcher on the market, and a key part of the Phillies future, should they choose to keep him. For that to happen, however, the Middleton family is going to have to shell out a ton of capital.
New Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski brings with him a fresh, win-now approach. Dombrowski is a relatively recent hire, so his new philosophy is one the Phillies are embracing on the fly. Hopefully for fans’ sake, he also has ownership’s approval to dole out some serious cash.
Dombrowski admitted to having a pre-Christmas meeting with Realmuto, stating that it was productive and he’s hopeful it leads to an agreement down the road.
The Phillies have a lot of work to do to bring back Realmuto long-term
“It was just about getting to know one another,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “Everything went great. It’s apparent why everyone in the Phillies organization thinks so highly of J.T. as a person and a player.”
When put on the spot, however, Dombrowski wouldn’t commit to making Realmuto a Phillie long-term his top priority.
“That’s a tough one to answer,” he said. “We’re hopeful. We’d love to have him back in Philadelphia.”
Pitchers and catcher report to Spring Training in just over a month, and after a slow crawl for months, the free agent market is starting to pick up. Realmuto will not be available for long, so Dombrowksi acknowledged that if they’re to sign the All-Star catcher, it has to happen “sooner rather than later.”
In 47 games played last season, Realmuto hit .266 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.