According to Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak, “The landscape has changed”, in regards to contract extension discussion with star catcher J.T. Realmuto. In a way he is correct. The Coronavirus has caused everything to change, whether it be sports or everyday life. One thing that has not changed however is J.T.’s value. He’s the best catcher in baseball and is deserving of a contract that shares the type of value he brings to the field. In his first season with the Phillies he had a .275 batting average, 148 hits, 36 doubles, 3 triples, 25 Home Runs, and 83 Runs batted in. Along with that he had a .328 on base percentage, .493 slugging percentage and a Ops of .820. He also had a WAR (wins above replacement) of 5.7, 23rd in all of baseball and first among catchers. During his first season as a Philadelphia Phillie he had a career year in the categories of Doubles, Home Runs, RBI’s and Slugging Percentage. He also had the second most hits of his career, and was slightly below his career average for batting average, and even made the NL All Star Team and won a Silver Slugger award.
While Realmuto gave the Phillies some much needed help on offense, his true addition to the team was his defense. In his first season with the Phillies he had over 1,174 chances to make a out, he made 1098 outs, assisted over 67 put-outs, had only 9 errors, and had a fielding percentage of .992. Along with that only allowed 49 stolen bases, He threw out 43 base runners and had a .467 caught stealing percentage and a defensive wins above replacement of 1.7. In all those categories he finished top five in every one. He also was the 2019 Golden Glove winner for catchers.
In his first season in the season of Brotherly Love he managed to make the all star team, win a silver slugger award and a golden glove award. The Phillies knew the type of player they were trading for. You don’t give up a young catcher who you previously traded for in Jorge Alfaro, your number one prospect in Sixto Sanchez and a former draft pick in Will Stewart if you don’t believe in the type of player he is. Granted, Stewart isn’t on the level of say a Sanchez or even a Alfaro. However, you don’t give away this many players in a trade unless you are willing to commit.
They upgraded at the position the second they traded for the former Marlin. That’s not to say Alfaro was a bad catcher. He is young, full of potential and can hit for power. He however is not the defensive player that Realmuto is. In most of the categories i described above, Realmuto bested him in most defensive standings. Along with that He bested him in pretty much all offensive categories as well. He had a higher Batting Average, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, Hits, Walks, Rbi’s and Stolen Bases. The category that he bested J.T. in was Strikeouts where he had 31 more.
The name of the game here boys and girls is winning. J.T. Realmuto is a winner. He’s head and shoulders above what the organization had before at the catcher position. Whether it be from a offensive or defensive viewpoint. We are a better baseball team with him. Some will say you have to sign him because of the haul you gave up. That’s always the case, i.e. with the Jimmy Butler trade. Like the saying goes, no guts no glory. You risked it for Realmuto. Let’s say you can put that aside. Let’s look at it from a strictly baseball viewpoint. He makes you a better team with his bat, his glove, and his leadership in the clubhouse. You sign him to a extension. It doesn’t matter if its 3 years or 6. There is no one from Packer Ave to Pakistan that can sit here and tell me we aren’t a better baseball team with J.T. Realmuto. The fans love him, his teammates love him (Cough Bryce Harper) and he loves being here! Don’t let this become another Scott Rolen or Curt Schilling situation. He’s a extremely talented player, loves this city and wants to help us win a championship. Simply put, he’s the best catcher in baseball, pay him accordingly. Put your money where your mouth is Philadelphia, or someone else will.