Just as Phillies fans were getting ready to take a victory lap, FanSided columnist Robert Murray went and muddied the waters with this concerning tweet:
When the Blue Jays anted up $150 million for George Springer earlier this week, they effectively bowed out of the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes. With Toronto widely considered the Phillies’ chief competitor on that front, most assumed it was just a matter of time until the All-Star catcher put pen to paper on a new deal with Philadelphia. Atlanta’s reported interest would conceivably throw a wrench in that plan.
Luckily, Jon Heyman is here to talk panicked Phillies fans off the ledge. While the MLB Network reporter acknowledges Atlanta has kicked the tires on Realmuto, he doesn’t see the Braves ponying up the kind of money Philadelphia is offering ($110 million), especially after the season Travis d’Arnaud just had (.321/.386/.533 in 165 at-bats).
Though it’s hard to say for sure, the leaked report from Murray could very well be a negotiating ploy by Realmuto’s camp, trying to drum up last-minute interest in hopes that it would motivate the Phillies to improve their offer. As excellent as Realmuto has been in recent seasons, there’s never a strong market for 30-year-old catchers, particularly when big spenders like the Mets and Dodgers have already addressed that position.
A handful of other teams have been loosely linked to Realmuto throughout his free agency including Houston and Washington, though it’s hard to envision either of those clubs shelling out nine figures. It’s possible a mystery suitor emerges in the coming days but if Realmuto is holding out for an offer better than the one he has on the table from Philadelphia, he’s probably setting himself up to be disappointed.