Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper knows his words carry weight in the organization. Following yet another late-season collapse by the Phillies, Harper issued a demand to the team’s front office in his first post-season interview: Re-sign J.T. Realmuto.
Harper, 27, made his thoughts on the matter crystal clear, saying Realmuto “needs” to be the Phillies’ catcher next season.
"J.T. Realmuto needs to be our catcher next season. Plain and simple," Bryce Harper. "...I don't think that should even be a question."— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) September 27, 2020
Harper added, “I don’t think that should even be a question.”
But just in case the Phillies’ brass didn’t get that message, Harper also posted a picture of Realmuto on Instagram. Harper’s caption read, “Let’s run it back.”
Harper has stumped for Realmuto all season. Back in spring training, Harper made it clear he believed the Phillies need to work out an extension with Realmuto. He continued to hammer that point during the season, saying it would be “terrible and sad” if the Phillies let Realmuto walk.
Will the Phillies re-sign J.T. Realmuto?
Harper’s words do carry weight around the Phillies. He’s under contract through 2031, after all. But it’s on the team and Realmuto to come to an agreement on a deal.
From a performance standpoint, Realmuto is still one of the game’s premier catchers. He hit .266/.349/.491, with 11 home runs, over 47 games. At 29, Realmuto is getting farther away from his prime, but he should still have a few more seasons of strong production before a major decline hits.
By letting Realmuto hit the market, however, the Phillies are playing a dangerous game. Realmuto should draw plenty of interest on the market, meaning the Phillies will have to outbid their competitors to bring Realmuto back.
If they fail, they risk alienating their franchise player. No pressure.
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