Could a J.T. Realmuto contract extension come before the end of Phillies summer camp?
Before the end of the regular season?
"Probably too soon to tell," Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Monday, 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 play a stronger hand 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. The leverage has changed a bit.
Klentak's comments, too, could be classified as posturing. It doesn't do him any good to come out today and say publicly that the Phillies will do whatever it takes to re-sign Realmuto.
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Klentak said Monday that he has not touched base with Realmuto's representatives since the moratorium was lifted because of how hectic the ramp-up to spring training 2.0 has been.
"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 expectation remains that, when it's said and done, the Phillies will offer Realmuto a contract of at least five years in length at more than $23 million per season.