By Sam Bush

There is a growing consensus that Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is the best in the game.

They traded for him 14 months ago, expecting to have him for at least the two full seasons before he hit free agency, hoping they could sign him to a contract extension that would keep him in a Phillies uniform longer.

The recent agreement between MLB and the Players Association regarding the 2020 season includes the provision that players will continue to accrue service time for a full season, no matter how much of the season ends up being played. That would mean Realmuto would become a free agent after 2020, on schedule, and would make losing him to free agency all the more disappointing.

Given that there is a transactions freeze currently, an extension won’t be possible for at least a while longer. Assuming negotiations for an extension will resume at some point, the terms typically speculated have aggregated around five years, and $20-25 million per year, or $100-$125 million total for 2021-2025.

Over the past three years, Realmuto has quite arguably been the best catcher in baseball, with Yasmani Grandal as his only real competition: