Nationals

Phillies owner expects J.T. Realmuto to become a free agent

Nationals

Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton revealed something about his All-Star catcher that's been speculated all season long. 

J.T. Realmuto is expected to become a free agent. 

That's what Philadelphia local sportscaster Jeff Skversky reported on Saturday afternoon, reporting that Middleton cited concerns surrounding the team's future payroll in regards to how the shortened season and coronavirus pandemic impacts the team's salaries in the future. 

“Can you tell me what the governor and the mayor of Philadelphia are going to allow us to have next year in the way of fans?” said Middleton, who elevated assistant general manager to interim GM after Matt Klentak stepped down. “Because if you do, you know something that I don't. So I have no idea what we're going to be allowed. Obviously, that will determine our revenues, and revenues determine what you can do and what you can't do.”

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Still, Realmuto is widley regarded as the best catcher in baseball, and now he's angling to get paid like it. Former Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer sits atop the catcher's earning list with $23 million per year despite not having played in a game since 2018. If Philadelphia wants to get something done with their All-Star catcher, it's most likely going to have to be around that figure. 

 

Otherwise, teams will be circling around for Realmuto's signature quickly. Among those teams could the Washington Nationals. With Kurt Suzuki's deal expiring, the Nats will have unproven depth at the position for next season to worry about. 

While nabbing Bryce Harper's prized teammate in free agency sounds like an appealing get for Washington fans, it'll likely be an expensive one. Despite a lot of teams' revenues and finances being up in the air for next season at the moment, the more unsettled Realmuto's situation becomes in Philadelphia, the better for Washington's chances to potentially swoop in.