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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Why J.T. Realmuto’s contract extension with the Phillies might take some time

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — The Phillies went into this offseason prioritizing a contract extension for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Even as the Phils pursue pitching and possibly a third baseman, they are quietly trying to hammer out that extension, according to multiples sources.

But the extension might not come before the New Year. It might not even come before the opening of spring training.

Don’t panic. Realmuto solidified his status as the top catcher in baseball by winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in 2019. The Phillies very much want to prevent him from becoming a free agent after next season and Realmuto, for months, has professed his affection for the Phillies and Philadelphia as well as his desire to stick around.

Mind you, can’t we say that about a lot of contract extensions in this day and age?


QLE Posted: November 16, 2019 at 12:20 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: contract extensions, j.t. realmuto, phillies

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   1. JRVJ Posted: November 16, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5901613)
Good article.

And frankly, good rationale by the Phillies (if they act like the article states) and pretty noble of Realmuto if he accepts this contract (or two contract) structure.
   2. Buck Coats Posted: November 16, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5901634)
But if the Phillies aren't that close to the tax line this off-season, shouldn't they do the opposite? Sign him to a deal that includes this season, that way it reduces the hit in future years (when they might be closer to the tax line)
   3. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5901841)
On the surface, extending Realmuto for a few years at least seems a reasonable gamble. He's turning 29 but has a reasonable load of Cing the last few years -- 606 starts over 5 years. The bat is fine, the glove is supposedly good.

But ... the bat's not as good as I thought and, at least per Rfield, the defense is not elite. I ranked integration-era Cs by oWAR for ages 25-28 and Realmuto is a solid 12th. However, the distribution here is interesting. Piazza on 25.5 oWAR and Posey on 22 are clearly at the top. You then get a group of 9 catchers within 3 oWAR of each other, from Mauer at 20.8 to Pudge at 17.9. Then there's a 2 oWAR drop-off to Realmuto and Porter at 15.8 then another >2 WAR drop-off to Lucroy at 13.5 followed closely by T Hundley, Battey, Burgess, Downing, Pena all around 13.

The issue is that there's a big difference in how useful these guys were through their early 30s right at that line. Pretty much everybody above Realmuto would have been a reasonable signing for at least 29-32; Porter would have been OK (10 WAR, 8.5 oWAR) and almost nobody below that other than Downing, especially as hitters. So which group do we want to put Realmuto in?

So here are the Realmuto comps I've settled on for the moment. Here is his DESTINY!!!!! The 3-WAR line stops at Ted Simmons at #7. Note Simmons, everybody above that, and VMart were all ahead of Realmuto on the earlier oWAR list.

We've got Porter at 10 WAR -- missed a good chunk of time due to the 81 strike so probably would have been about 12 WAR. Downing's a bit of a freak anwyay, only at 8 WAR here but also missing a lot of time (some due to strike) and moving to the OF. Burgess was a big-hitting part-time C who pinch-hit a lot too. The other "real" Cs here didn't fare so well but were generally healthy.

Based on his past, he sits right between these two groups. There's a relatively big gap between him and the group in front ... and an equally big gap between him and the group below. Which group you're in seems to make a lot of difference. I suppose you WAG him to be around Porter but it looks like the sort of bet you either win or lose and there's no break-even.

This pattern is pretty unusual for P-I comps. You'll always see some elite bunch that can be pretty easily distinguished but, unless you're looking at one of those elite guys, you'll usually have 10-15 guys within 2-3 WAR of your target. And there's rarely such a clean break between those who continued success vs. those who fell apart. Here even health didn't keep any of the guys ahead of him from carrying on -- they all made it to at least 1950 PAs which is pretty good for 4 years of Cing. Then you've got two kinda freak careers in Downing and Burgess.

So I dunno, seems there's a good chance he'll catch 400-500 games over the next 4 years which is nice. Lucroy is probably the realistic downside comp, Munson/Rodriguez probably the realistic upside. Covering ages 30-32 at $60 M looks reasonable; adding age 33 at another $20 is probably not in the team's interest (but the comps generally were OK at 33). And agreed with #2, if lux tax is not a consideration this year, it seems they should roll this year's arb into the deal to reduce future lux tax contributions.

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