J.T. Realmuto Rumors: Blue Jays Linked to All-Star Catcher in Free Agency

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2020

Philadelphia Phillies' J.T. Realmuto plays during first baseball game in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly among the teams expected to pursue catcher J.T. Realmuto in free agency this winter.

Craig Mish of SportsGrid reported the Blue Jays will be "involved throughout the process" for the game's best catcher.

Realmuto hit .266/.349/.491 with 11 home runs and 47 runs batted in last season, finishing second behind Salvador Perez for the highest wins above replacement among catchers, per FanGraphs. Yasmani Grandal is the only catcher to outperform Realmuto by FanGraphs' WAR formula over the last five seasons.

The free-agency process for Realmuto will likely be interesting, given the increased platooning of the catcher position around baseball. The 29-year-old has been a relative ironman in that regard, missing no more than 37 games in a season.

Analytics overwhelmingly caution against giving catchers long-term contracts that take them deep into their 30s. The San Francisco Giants (Buster Posey) and Minnesota Twins (Joe Mauer) serve as recent cautionary tales in that regard. Despite both remaining solid players, their production as they aged did not justify the length and scale of their deals.

Aside from Posey, no catcher in baseball has a contract worth more than $73 million in total. Grandal and Posey are the only catchers who currently have deals with average annual values of more than $10 million per season. 

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