December 23, 2020
Don't let the headline give you an inflated sense of excitement — there is no concrete sign of the hot stove heating up anytime soon in what is the most boring and uneventful offseason in recent memory.
But there are a few reasons for hope for Phillies fans this week, as the team announced several front office structural changes, including the promotion of Sam Fuld to general manager, the No. 2 man to Dave Dombrowski behind the scenes.
In an introductory press conference Tuesday that included Dombrowski, the Phillies president of baseball operations confirmed that the biggest name on the free agent market, Phils' free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto, is still on their radar.
"[Realmuto's] agent actually called me yesterday — Jeff Berry,” Dombrowski said (h/t NBC Sports Philly). “It really was not a negotiation. It was a welcome to the Phillies organization. I’ve known Jeff Berry for a long time and I talked to him and he welcomed me aboard and we talked about how my family was and we talked about how his family was and we said we would stay in contact. I expressed to him again how much we would love to have J.T. on board and that’s where it really ended at that point.”
So that's kind of good news?
Dombrowski went on to say that the conversation did not contain any negotiation, but hopefully that will change soon.
Or maybe it happened already.
A report that surfaced hours later that suggests that the negotiation may have happened already.
The Phillies have an offer on the table for J.T. Realmuto but the other offers for baseball’s best all-around catcher remain unknown #mysterymarket— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 23, 2020
It is unclear what the Phillies are up against in their trek to bring Realmuto back to South Philly, but having an offer on the table is a substantial step for the Phillies, particularly after a tumultuous start to the offseason that had many doubting the team would even bother trying to put together a competitive roster.
Retaining Realmuto, who is arguably the best catcher in baseball, will surely calm concerns, regardless if there are subsequent splashy moves thereafter. Which is good, because keeping Bryce Harper happy — Realmuto's biggest cheerleader — is important for the future of the franchise.
One can only guess that Realmuto is eager to get a deal done and start looking toward 2021. Perhaps the floodgates will open soon.
The Phillies currently have +3000 odds to win the World Series, 13th best in baseball. Realmuto's return would surely improve those.
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