Source: Phillies offer J.T. Realmuto more than $100 million

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Corey Seidman
·2 min read
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Source: Phillies offer J.T. Realmuto more than $100 million originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The stars seem to be aligning with the Phillies and J.T. Realmuto.

The Phils have made the free-agent catcher their first official offer: five years and slightly more than $100 million, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark, confirming a report from The Athletic.

The news comes as landing spots for Realmuto continue to disappear. Out are the Mets after signing James McCann, the Yankees after spending $90 million to retain DJ LeMahieu and likely the Angels after agreeing to a deal Friday with Kurt Suzuki.

Realmuto has long sought the highest ever annual average value for a catcher, currently $23 million from Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million contract with the Twins. If that is still the target, a five-year deal would have to exceed $115 million. It’s unclear, however, if Realmuto's target can still be reached given the free-agent landscape.

Could another team step in and offer Realmuto a bigger contract at this point? Who is left? The Nationals are viewed as unlikely and so are the Astros because of the draft picks they've already forfeited from their sign-stealing scandal. Other top NL contenders like the Dodgers and Padres have catchers and have spent money elsewhere this offseason. The Cardinals could be a possibility if they lose Yadier Molina to retirement, though it's unclear if they have the ability to do a deal like this.

The Blue Jays have been referenced all offseason as a potential destination for the top guys: Realmuto, George Springer, Trevor Bauer. Would Realmuto go there? 

Philadelphia would almost certainly be his preferred spot over Toronto given his comfort and familiarity here, plus the tax ramifications of playing half your games in Canada. It’s unclear whether the Blue Jays will actually play in Toronto in 2021, but the Canadian tax rate he would be subject to is about 16 percent higher than in the U.S. If the Phillies and Blue Jays offered the same deal, the Phillies’ offer would probably net Realmuto more, though Toronto could get creative with accounting alternatives to mitigate certain tax differences (similar to a signing bonus in the NFL).

The Phillies are committed to getting this deal done. You don’t offer a nine-figure contract unless you’re serious. If the Phils can complete this, the tone of their offseason would change quickly. They’d have addressed their top priority, while also adding a proven late-inning reliever in Archie Bradley and two hard-throwing bullpen arms who should be able to help. The door isn't closed on Didi Gregorius, either. Earlier this week, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the team is interested in signing him.

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