J.T. Realmuto has decided to return to the Philadelphia Phillies.
According to Craig Mish, the Phillies have signed the All-Star catcher to a five-year contract worth $115.5 million.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia confirmed the deal, while noting that Realmuto now holds the largest average annual value ever for a catcher ($23.1 million).
It’s also the third richest contract ever handed out to a catcher. The record is currently held by former Minnesota Twins All-Star Joe Mauer, who signed an eight-year extension worth $184 million in 2010.
San Francisco Giants superstar Buster Posey holds the second largest catcher contract ever. In 2013, he signed an eight-year extension worth $159 million after leading the Giants to their second World Series in three years.
A two-time All-Star, Realmuto was acquired by the Phillies in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins during the 2019 offseason. Realmuto earned All-MLB First and All-MLB Second team selections in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Last season, he batted .266 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 47 game appearances. For his career, Realmuto has hit .278 with a .783 OPS and a slugging percentage of .455. He has hit 2.75 or better four times.
In 2019, Realmuto hit a career-high 25 home runs and 83 RBI.
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The Phillies haven’t reached the postseason since 2011. They have spent a lot of money in free agency over the past two years, landing 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper (13 years, $330 million) and starting pitcher Zack Wheeler ($118 million).
Now, they’re hoping that Realmuto’s long-term presence will end a 10-year playoff drought. The pieces are in place for the Phillies to contend in the NL East, and now is the time for them to finally break through.
With Realmuto, George Springer (Toronto Blue Jays), D.J. LeMahieu (New York Yankees), Marcus Semien (Blue Jays) now signed, the 2020 free agent market is starting to clear up. All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer remains the top free agent available.
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