According to a source known to MLB Insider Mark Feinsand, the Philadelphia Phillies have won their arbitration case against catcher J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto was hoping to get $12.4 million and the Phillies filed to give, arguably the best catcher in baseball, $10 million.
It's easy to assume that Realmuto might be upset over what some might call a "paltry" sum of $2.4 million, but based on a story by Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, J.T. understands how baseball works. Realmuto shared that there are no hard feelings with the arbitration process.
“No, no. I have a pretty good understanding of the process and I know it's not the Phillies trying to slight me at all. It's more the system. There's no hard feelings there. Anybody who knows much about the arbitration process knows that it’s business. It’s not necessarily me against the Phillies right now. There’s definitely not any hard feelings there. So, I feel like we’re in the same place we were two or three months ago with the contract extension."
It's no secret the Phillies would love to have a long-term relationship with Realmuto, and J.T. has expressed the same desire. While catchers often get the short end of the stick in arbitration cases and trades, Realmuto's numbers in 2019 were about as stellar as they get for a catcher.
According to stats from Fangraphs, Realmuto had a 2019 slash line of .275/.328/.493. His OPS was .820, his WAR an All-Star level 4.4, and he got 148 hits on 538 At-bats with 24 homers and 83 RBI. He was an All-Star in 2019, ranked 14th in MVP voting, and won both a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award.
Couple those stats together with the fact that according to advanced stats from Baseball Prospectus, Realmuto is one of MLB's best defensive catchers, and you have something! Does the soon-to-be 29-year-old sound like a catcher any team would want to keep?
J.T. Realmuto will be a free agent in 2021, so what will the Phillies be willing to do to extend him? We will have to wait to see what sort of season the All-Star catcher can put together, but Spring is in the air, Realmuto feels good, and the Phillies certainly hope to avoid another .500 season.