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Phillies' Updated Lineup, Payroll After J.T. Realmuto's Reported $115M Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2021

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is seen during a spring training baseball game, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies and star catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly agreed to a record-breaking contract Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, Realmuto will get $115.5 million over five years, his $23.1 million average salary the highest ever for a catcher.

With the two-time All-Star sticking around, Philadelphia basically boasts the same offense it did in 2020, with veteran shortstop Didi Gregorius likely the only notable departure (though the Phillies retain an interest in bringing him back, per Robert Murray of FanSided). Here's what RosterResource projects as the Phillies' lineup:

  • 1. Andrew McCutcheon, LF
  • 2. Alec Bohm, 3B
  • 3. Bryce Harper, RF
  • 4. J.T. Realmuto, C
  • 5. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
  • 6. Jean Segura, SS
  • 7. Roman Quinn, CF
  • 8. Scott Kingery, 2B

Back in October, managing partner John Middleton offered a concerning remark when it came to the likelihood of retaining Realmuto.

"Can you tell me what the governor and the mayor of Philadelphia are going to allow us to have next year in the way of fans?" he said to reporters. "Because if you do, you know something that I don't. So I have no idea what we're going to be allowed. Obviously, that will determine our revenues, and revenues determine what you can do and what you can't do."

That raised alarms about how the Phillies might follow other franchises in tightening the payroll. The hiring of Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, however, showed where ownership's priorities are.

Joe Giglio @JoeGiglioSports

Re-signing J.T. Realmuto puts more pressure, not less, on Dave Dombrowski. The Phillies basically have a three-year window with Bryce Harper, Realmuto, and Aaron Nola under club control and in their respective primes. Can’t waste it.

Franchises helmed by Dombrowski almost always carry big payrolls and spend big—be it through contracts or trade assets—on proven stars. Giving Realmuto a nine-figure deal aligns with that general approach.

Prior to this move, Philadelphia had the ninth-highest payroll in MLB ($139.7 million), per Spotrac. Add Realmuto's salary to that number, and the Phillies would climb up to fifth. Their financial outlay could climb higher still if they sign a middle infielder to replace Gregorius.

Keeping Realmuto doesn't make the Phillies the World Series favorite, and they may not be the best team in their own division, but Middleton is clearly looking to invest following an underwhelming 2020 campaign in which Philadelphia missed the playoffs.

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