A natural question was posed to Joe Girardi on Monday: Are you worried about Bryce Harper being upset?
Harper has been vocal about his desire for the team to re-sign catcher J.T. Realmuto. He is also entering the third year of his 13-year contract after missing the postseason in each of the first two years in Philadelphia.
"J.T. Realmuto needs to be our catcher next year — plain and simple," Harper said in a season-ending Zoom call with reporters on Sept. 27.
That decision, of course, is up to owner John Middleton, new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Girardi (the first two more than the latter). But, the manager handles a direct relationship with a player more than anyone.
“I think you always worry about how players are going to handle things when things maybe don’t go exactly the way they want or think they should go or the way it is,” Girardi said. “Obviously, I’ll sit down and have discussions about him, with him, I’m sure Dave will probably have discussions with Bryce: Look, we want to win just as badly as you do. Trust us. We’re going to do everything we can to bring a championship to Philadelphia. Sometimes, things don’t go exactly the way you want, but you got to trust us. You’ve got to trust Dave and what Dave’s going to do.
“There’s friendships, right, that sometimes play a role in that. I get that. I’ve been with teammates that I love being a teammate with and the next year they’re not there and it’s a little bit difficult. You form new relationships, you get involved in the season, then it just kind of becomes normal again. But in a time where you’re not extremely busy, I think you probably think about it a lot more.”
Harper has lobbied for Realmuto to be on his team in the past. Following a 2018 walk-off single by Realmuto against the Nationals, Harper said, “If that guy was on our side, that wouldn’t have happened.”
Washington has long chased Realmuto. For years, it talked to Miami about prospective trades, however the asking price -- at one point Juan Soto and Victor Robles -- was much too high.
Realmuto is a free agent. The Nationals need catching help but likely will not be willing to spend what Realmuto will command.
Girardi did not rule out Realmuto returning to the Phillies.