J.T. Realmuto unsurprisingly rejected the Phillies' qualifying offer and is free to sign with any team.
The qualifying offer is a one-year deal for the average of MLB's top 125 salaries. Heading into 2021, the offer was $18.9 million.
Only six players were extended the qualifying offer by their teams: Realmuto, Trevor Bauer (Reds), George Springer (Astros), DJ LeMahieu (Yankees), Marcus Stroman (Mets) and Kevin Gausman (Giants).
Realmuto, Bauer, LeMahieu, Springer rejected the offer, per multiple reports. Stroman and Gausman accepted and will return to their teams for one year at that price. None of the six players can be extended a qualifying offer again in future offseasons.
With Realmuto rejecting, the Phillies will receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere this offseason. They would be awarded a pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2021 draft, somewhere around the 65th overall pick.
Realmuto will be a prime target of the New York Mets, whose new owner Steve Cohen mentioned catching as a top area requiring an upgrade in his introductory press conference Tuesday.
If the Phillies are unable to bring back the best catcher in baseball, a solid free-agent fallback option would be former White Sox catcher James McCann. We took a closer look at McCann last week.
It would be viewed as a failure here if Realmuto walks, a colossal one if he leaves for the Mets. And if the Mets win with him ... well, let's leave that for another day. Here's a recent prediction of Realmuto's next contract.
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