As expected, the Phillies have extended free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto a qualifying offer for 2021.
The Phillies did not extend a qualifying offer to free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Sunday was the deadline to make such offers.
The qualifying offer is worth $18.9 million. That figure represents the average of the game’s top 125 salaries.
Realmuto has 10 days to accept or decline the offer. If he accepts, he immediately becomes signed for 2021. If he rejects and signs elsewhere, the Phillies will receive a compensatory pick in next year’s draft. Even if Realmuto rejects the offer, the Phillies can continue to negotiate with him.
It's likely that Realmuto will reject the offer and shop himself on the open market. He has made it clear that he is seeking a record-setting deal for a catcher. According to club president Andy MacPhail, the Phillies made three attempts to extend Realmuto’s contract over the last two years. The Phils will make another attempt this winter.
Free agents can begin signing Sunday night, but this market is expected to take some time to develop as teams set their budgets after losing significant revenues during the pandemic shortened 2020 season.
The Phillies are facing a budget crunch and are currently trimming their workforce in baseball and business operations. The tight budget led them to pass on making a qualifying offer to Gregorius, who bet on himself with a one-year, $14 million deal last season and could have been tempted to do something similar for 2021. The Phillies were happy with Gregorius’ contributions in 2020 and are likely to keep the lines of communication open with him throughout the free-agent season.
Because they did not make Gregorius a qualifying offer, the Phils will not receive a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.