By Sam Bush
Could a J.T. Realmuto contract extension come before the end of Phillies summer camp?
“Probably too soon to tell,” Phillies GM Matt Klentak said yesterday, about 72 hours after the MLB moratorium on transactions and negotiations was lifted.
“The landscape that we left in March is different from the one we return to now. We just have to see how that manifests itself in our discussions. We still love the player, we’d still love to have him in red pinstripes for the long haul. But there’s a lot of uncertainty in the game right now on a variety of levels. We just need to play that out.”
In a normal year, this deal may have already been completed. There would have been more incentive for Realmuto to re-sign ahead of free agency in a six-month, 162-game season than in a 60-game season. The risk of injury still exists in a 60-game season, but Realmuto’s side could realistically argue it has more leverage with free agency now being only a couple of months away and the National League’s adoption of the designated hitter potentially taking Realmuto out of the crouch a handful of times.
Klentak’s comments, too, could be classified as posturing. It doesn’t do him any good to come say publicly that the Phillies will do whatever it takes to re-sign Realmuto.
“Candidly, we’ve been kind of nose to the ground — intake screenings and getting people here — so I haven’t touched base with them,” he said. As fas as a timeline, I just don’t know. I need to talk to them.”
The buzz had been that the Phillies will offer Realmuto a contract of at least five years in length at more than $23 million per season.