The Phillies have reportedly made a new nine-figure offer to free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto, advancing talks that stalled last March when the MLB instituted a freeze on transactions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Athletic’s Jason Stark, the Phillies offered the All-Star catcher “slightly north of $100 million over five years” to return to their ball club.
The Phillies’ new president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, confirmed a previous report from NBC Sports Philadelphia that he met in person with Realmuto and his wife in Oklahoma over the Christmas holiday.
Realmuto's 5.8 b-WAR, the highest of any other catcher in baseball, has made him a highly coveted target during a slow free agency. He has been linked to a number of clubs including the Washington Nationals, who are looking to add depth on the offensive end of the bullpen ahead of the 2021 season.
Previous reports of Realmuto’s asking price, however, suggest that the Nationals with an already top-heavy roster and a history of avoiding the luxury tax may not be able to deliver him the payout he’s looking for.
The two parties entered arbitration hearings last winter with Realmuto’s compensation demands seemingly far off from what the Phillies were looking to pay, as well. Their latest offer seems to bend slightly to Realmuto’s self valuation.
The Phillies could fill a glaring void at the catcher position if they are able to reach an agreement with the 30-year-old Realmuto. They have yet to add another veteran catcher to compete with longtime backup Andrew Knapp and appear ready to spend the money to do so.