Phillies re-sign J.T. Realmuto to unprecedented contract for a catcher

The Philadelphia Phillies are bringing back backstop J.T. Realmuto on a massive new deal.

The next big domino to fall in 2021 MLB free agency has, as two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto is going back to the Philadelphia Phillies on a record-setting contract.

Realmuto re-ups with the Phillies on a five-year deal worth $115.5 million. This surpasses the previous all-time average annual value for a catcher at $23 million netted by Joe Mauer of Minnesota Twins fame. The division rival Atlanta Braves were in the mix to land Realmuto, but Philadelphia won out to keep their 29-year-old backstop in town for the next five seasons.

Did the Phillies overpay to bring back J.T. Realmuto in his free agency?

Philadelphia may have paid a premium at the position, but what were the Phillies going to do? Atlanta being in the market for a catcher was odd, as they have a Silver Slugger behind the dish in Travis d’Arnaud. Their supposed interest clearly drove up the price for Realmuto to stay in Philadelphia. While he is an excellent player, this is a ton of coin for a so-so Phillies team.

Philadelphia was one of seven teams in the National League to not reach the postseason a year ago. It has been years since they played in October. While bringing back Realmuto helps keep them interesting, the Phillies are still look up at the Braves in the division. Realmuto’s former team in the Miami Marlins made the postseason a year ago and the New York Mets seem to be on the rise.

Realmuto has no choice but to be the Phillies’ version of Mauer behind the dish going forward.