Phillies GM’s comments not helping JT Realmuto extension

A J.T. Realmuto extension had been a Phillies priority, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that fact.

MLB owners are set to take on record losses due to a shortened MLB season without fans in the stands, making it an inopportune time for some of the game’s greatest stars seeking contract extensions. Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, whose contract ends after the 2020 season, is set to enter a cold free-agent market this Winter should he not agree to terms on an extension by then.

Based on general manager Matt Klentak’s comments, the two sides agreeing to terms seems unlikely.

Phillies GM Matt Klentak comments on where team stands on JT Realmuto contract extension.

Per Klentak, the Phillies have been hit by financial hardship as much as any team, and despite their previous priority of extending Realmuto before or during the season, circumstances have changed.

“The landscape that we left in March is different from the one we return to now,” Klentak said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We just have to see how that manifests itself in our discussions. We still love the player, we’d still love to have him in red pinstripes for the long haul. But there’s a lot of uncertainty in the game right now on a variety of levels. We just need to play that out.”

Realmuto is widely considered one of, if not the best, catchers in the league. He’s made the All-Star team in two straight seasons, and it took a haul for the Phillies to acquire him in the first place. To punt on Realmuto after just one productive season would be a surprising outcome. The backstop hit .275 with 25 home runs and 78 RBIs in the middle of the Phillies lineup in 2019.

“Candidly,” Klentak continued, “we’ve been kind of nose to the ground — intake screenings and getting people here — so I haven’t touched base with [Realmuto’s camp]. As fas as a timeline, I just don’t know. I need to talk to them.”

For the Phillies sake, they ought to pick up the phone as soon as they balance their books.

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