Middleton: Re-sigining JT Realmuto No. 1 Priority
In February 2019, Phillies managing partner John Middleton expressed concerns about trading for 2-years of control for JT Realmuto and giving up top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez to the Marlins.
The concerns were that the Phillies would be able to acquire JT Realmuto and not be able to sign him to a multiyear extension on the spot. Middleton thought the Phillies were going to be able to get the deal done but that simply did not happen.
Fast forward to the end of yet another disappointing baseball season in 2020 and Matt Klentak has “stepped down” as General Manager. John Middleton says that JT Realmuto will head to free agency, although re-signing JT still remains priority number 1 for the ball club heading into the offseason. Revenue loss due to COVID-19, will be a factor in that decision.
This is something I have been echoing for several months on TLL and even mentioned it on the Fox Sports PHL Gambler in my interview with Sean Brace.
The drop in revenue due to pandemic will lower the luxury-tax threshold for teams and is likely to affect how clubs spend. There’s a chance that waiting to re-sign JT Realmuto until free agency could be the right move, because free agency spending will be down across the league.
Will John Middleton hand over a blank check to keep JT Realmuto in Philadelphia?
The answer is probably not.
Middleton stated yesterday that the Phillies’ problem over the lasts 100 years is that they don’t evaluate talent well. This is probably the most honest statement I’ve heard from the front office.
Even with one of the highest player payrolls in baseball, the Phillies have not made the postseason since 2011. Their last postseason series win came in 2010. With the Braves and Marlins winning their Wild Card series and advancing, every other team in the NL East has won a postseason series since the Phillies last appeared in the playoffs in 2011.
With Klentak out of the picture and being reassigned to “another position within the organization”, Middleton also stated yesterday that Andy McPhail’s attention will shift more to the baseball side of things now. Ned Rice will serve as interim general manager until a permanent successor is hired to oversee the team’s Baseball Operations.
If Middleton’s number one priority is re-signing Realmuto, Andy McPhail and Ned Rice will have to make it happen, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Mandatory Credit: MLB Trade Rumors