J.T. Realmuto
(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Unrestricted free agent catcher JT Realmuto will not return to the Philadelphia Phillies next season.

Franchise owner John Middleton claims that the Fightin’ Phils lost nearly $2 billion in the shortened 2020 season. These major financial losses will prohibit them from pursuing any major free agents, Realmuto included.

The 29-year-old Realmuto enters 2021 as one of the best catchers in baseball. In 192 games over two seasons with Philadelphia, he hit 36 homers and batted in 115 runs. 2019 saw JT Realmuto lead the circuit in caught stealing as he gunned down 43 runners. That ranks as the third-highest mark since 2003.

In his seven MLB seasons, Realmuto has earned two All-Star nominations, two Silver Sluggers, and a Gold Glove Award. His value on both offense and defense will make him an asset to whatever team he signs with next. He will most likely receive a multi-year deal.

Bryce Harper Wanted JT Realmuto Back

Phillies fans won’t be the only ones disappointed with Realmuto’s departure. Star outfielder Bryce Harper will also be displeased. Harper launched a campaign to re-sign the catcher as early as spring training.

J.T. Realmuto needs to be our catcher next year – plain and simple. He’s the best catcher in baseball. He’s the best hitting catcher in baseball. Our guys love to throw to him, if that’s Wheeler, if that’s Nola, if that’s anybody.

Anybody that’s the best at their position – hitting and fielding – needs to be signed, and that is J.T. Realmuto. I don’t think that should even be a question. There’s going to be two or three teams in the NL East who are going to go after that guy and if that happens, I mean, that’s going to be tough to swallow for us.

Bryce Harper on re-signing Realmuto, via NBC Sports Philadelphia

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, it looks that Harper may be correct. Philadelphia’s NL East rivals – the Mets, Braves, and Nationals – are all expected to make a play for Realmuto.

Versatile catchers like Realmuto don’t come around often, and he will likely earn a hefty sum in free agency.

***

SUBSCRIBE to the Vendetta YouTube Channel!

SHOP for Vendetta Merch!