By Sam Bush

All’s quiet on the JT Realmuto front as far as the Phillies try to lure him back to town after blowing the chance to sign him through arbitration.

But, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports:

Free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto is a fit for the Astros, at least from a baseball perspective. But the quality of the draft picks the team would sacrifice for signing Realmuto, or any other free agent attached to a qualifying offer, likely will be severe enough to limit the club’s interest, if not eliminate it entirely.

The Astros face a double whammy because of the penalties they received for stealing signs illegally in 2017 and ’18, and for exceeding the luxury-tax threshold last season. The first offense cost them their first- and second-round picks in both ’20 and ’21. The second, according to a strict reading of the collective-bargaining agreement, should have cost them their fourth- and seventh-rounders, plus $1 million from their international signing bonus pool in ’22. But Major League Baseball did not allow them to get off that easily.


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