Strange Realmuto Rumors Emerge as Phillies Hope to #SignJT


With pitchers and catchers heading to Clearwater in just under a month, the Phillies still have some work to do.  Their pitching could use some upgrades, and there is still some free agent inventory both in starting pitchers and relief pitchers that could be of interest to the Phillies.    And of course their catching remains unresolved as free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto has not signed with the Phillies or anyone else.  But after George Springer signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, seemingly taking them out of the running for Realmuto, the industry speculation was that the Phillies and Realmuto were a lock to reunite.  But Thursday, some interesting trade rumors emerged to suggest other teams might be involved.

 The first rumor comes from Robert Murray, formerly of the Athletic:

The Braves?

The Braves appear to be set at the catching position, with Travis d'Arnaud, set to earn $8 million this season.  Would the Braves have any extra money available to spend on Realmuto?  The short answer is "probably not".

MLB Trade Rumors suggests that if Realmuto decided to go for a large one-year deal than he might be willing to go to the Braves.  But the Phillies probably wish they could be so lucky to have a one-year commitment to Realmuto.  Given the uneasy nature of catcher health, Realmuto may not wish to pursue that.

"Other teams on the west coast?"   The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels are the ones with money.  But the Dodgers have a potential perennial All-Star catcher in Will Smith and the Angels recently signed Kurt Suzuki.  It's not that Realmuto wouldn't be a substantial upgrade, but that could be a sign that the Angels prefer to focus on Trevor Bauer with their money.

Jim Bowden of Sirius XM suggested that maybe Realmuto will want to push six years as D.J. LeMahieu and George Springer recently got.  But the LeMahieu deal was a five-year deal with a superfluous year 

Can an agent get other teams to kick the Realmuto tires by saying that his price could come down?  That would be easy.  But the Phillies still seem to stand apart.

Phillies Rotation Options among 2021’s Free Agents


By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While the Philadelphia Phillies faithful reacted negatively to a possible Anibal Sanchez signing, a national site forecasted he could receive an offer higher than Corey Kluber’s $11 million. Translation: too expensive! So, fans can relax because the Fightins can spend $6 million, and he probably won’t land here.                                         


Missing Components: 

A pitcher’s ability and/or cost may not be accurate to some Phillies fans who remember his career peak simultaneously with an age-related asking price. Ergo, a hurler won’t be a solid three-slot arm for $6 million on a one-season contract as some have implied.  


“We are like a judge confronted by a defendant who declines to answer, and we must determine the truth from the circumstantial evidence.” - Alfred Wegener

Pitching is expensive and the reason Kluber received $11 million from the New York Yankees hoping for a two behind Gerrit Cole. Now, Jon Lester has signed for $5 million with the Washington Nationals, and JA Happ inked an $8 million pact with the Minnesota Twins.   

Some general managers may be overpaying for a certain hurler, while other moundsmen are accepting a proposal from the first bidding organization. But while the Yankees didn’t want to miss an opportunity, the same could also be Lester’s reasoning.                                                  

It could turn out Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations, probably considered inking Sanchez for $6 million like his deal with Archie Bradley. However, Mato Sports Management representing Sanchez held a showcase instead trying for a comparable pact to Kluber’s.  

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The Phillies announced the signing of reliever Archie Bradley and traded for Red Sox infielder C.J. Chatham

The Phillies were busy on Monday, making one deal official, and making another.  New president of baseball of operations Dave Dombrowski added one of his former players from Boston.  To make room for the deals the Phillies had to designate a couple players for assignment.

Here is a rundown of the moves the Phillies made:

Archie Bradley's signing is official.  Bradley even made the move Twitter official:

Bradley then jumped on the bandwagon to sign J.T. Realmuto.

To make room for Bradley on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated for assignment the contract of Kyle Garlick.   Garlick had a cup of coffee with the Phillies last season after being picked up on waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 23 at bats in 2020, he batted just .136.

The Phillies then made a trade.  The Phillies picked up infielder C.J. Chatham from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named.  The Red Sox needed a roster spot for signing Martin Perez and Dombrowski added Chatham in a deal.

Chatham batted .298 split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. Mostly a shortstop, Chatham played left field, second base, and third base at times in 2019.  Chatham was the 14th-best prospect for the Red Sox.

To make room for Chatham on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated for assignment the contract of Victor Arano.   Arano was once a promising reliever and was overcoming injury heading into 2020.  The Phillies carried him on the 40-man roster last season, though he never did get a promotion to the big leagues.   The Phillies could look to bring him back on a minor league deal.

Report: Phillies Make New 9-Figure Offer to Realmuto


The Phillies season finally got moving on Thursday when the Phillies came to agreement with free agent relief pitcher Archie Bradley on a one-year, $6 million deal.  But who will Bradley be throwing to?  The news could be good for Phillies fans who hope that it is none other than incumbent. J.T. Realmuto.

Jayson Stark of the Athletic reports that the Phillies have made an offer in excess of $100 million:

According to an industry source familiar with the negotiations, the offer was for five years and slightly north of $100 million, which is believed to be somewhere in the range of where the club stood last March, when negotiations screeched to a halt because of MLB’s COVID-19 transactions freeze.

If the recent six-year, $90 million deal agreed to by D.J. LeMahieu is any indication, prices have gone down thanks to COVID-19.

The Phillies might not have a whole lot of competition for Realmuto.  The New York Mets were out of the bidding early, opting for the more-affordable James McCann instead.  The Toronto Blue Jays were said to be interested, but after offering a four-year deal to LeMehieu, it seems to indicate that they are not looking to go longer, and that they would be less likely to do more for a catcher.

New Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski traveled to Realmuto's home to talk about a new deal prior to Christmas, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported.

After a slow start in the Phillies offseason, things finally seem to be heating up.                

Phillies: 2021’s Reunion with Realmuto Draws Closer


By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Based on the competition shrinking, the Philadelphia Phillies odds to re-sign JT Realmuto are the best they’ve been since 2019. Now, our rival from Queens has committed less for another superstar in ‘21 and thusly completed their big-ticket shopping.  


The 88 Percent:

For some Phillies faithful, there are two plans: theirs and none. And if immediacy (the norm) is one part, this isn’t the offseason to draw early conclusions due to guaranteed uncertainty. But some views even have a threatening tone: One fan posted either do something now, or you'll face 10 years in last place. Heartwarming, no?                              


“Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.” - Arthur Schopenhauer

Among the usual sentiments, overall expectations haven’t changed from two years ago this month. Yes, it’s like no pandemic and financial shortfalls have occurred for the last 12 months. But things change every season as should your conclusions.       

With one month before spring training, MLB teams have spent about $1 billion less compared to last mid-January, and 88 percent of free agents haven’t signed: They are part of a large pool including Didi Gregorius. Ergo, there is no way such a large percentage of available talent is anything close to the norm of winters past.                                  

Front offices have two methods for this offseason: They ink specific players and/or wait for the unsigned group of stars remaining. Translation: Gregorius is probably one of those quality regulars, which is why so many general managers are taking the slower approach --not just the Phillies.    

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Report: Phillies Sign Reliever Archie Bradley


Image by Johnmaxmena, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The Phillies entered the 2020-2021 offseason with almost a whole bullpen to build.  After making some low-risk gambles (Sean Coonrod and Jose Alvarado), the Phillies have added someone who should be the first major piece to the 2021 bullpen.  According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet Canada, the Phillies have come to terms with free agent reliever Archie Bradley.  Mark Feinsand of reports that the deal is for one year and $6 million.

Bradley had a nice year for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020.  Bradley went 2-0 with a 2.95 earned run average with six saves in 16 games for the Cincinnati Reds.   Facing financial uncertainty, Bradley was non-tendered by the Reds this offseason.

Bradley has generally had a nice career as a reliever, after failing to make the Arizona Diamondbacks starting rotation in 2017.   Bradley's signature moment might have come at the plate, however.  Facing Colorado Rockies reliever Pat Neshek in the Wild Card round of 2017, Neshek hit a two-run triple help the Diamondbacks take an 11-8 victory over the Rockies.  

Bradley has mostly been a setup man, though in 2020 he spent some time as the closer for the Diamondbacks.  At the 2020 trade deadline, Bradley was traded to the Reds for two prospects.

The Phillies will have to add more pieces, but adding Bradley to a bullpen that features Hector Neris and not much else is a good start.

Bradley is 28 years old.  Lifetime, Bradley is 23-25 with a 3.91 earned run average.

Are the Phillies Interested in a Freddy Galvis Reunion?


The Phillies have yet to many any moves of significance.   With pitchers and catchers due to report on February 17, time is running out to address a couple of key needs.  One of those needs is shortstop, with the free agency of Didi Gregorius.   The Phillies might turn to an old friend.

Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes of the Phillies shortstop situation, including the possibility that Freddy Galvis could return:

Maybe, then, Gregorius’ market will drift back to the Phillies. As they monitor the situation, they are also eyeing alternatives, including Semien and a possible reunion with Freddy Galvis, according to a major-league source.

The interest the Phillies had in Marcus Semien came from SiriusXM's Jim Bowden yesterday.

If the Phillies go the Galvis route, it could be a stopgap solution to get the Phillies to prospect Bryson Stott.  Stott, the first round draft pick of the Phillies in 2019,  Stott is 23 years old, but missed a valuable year of development in 2020 without a minor league season.  Stott spent some time at the Phillies alternate training site in 2020, but he is somewhat of an unknown, at 23 years old.

Since leaving the Phillies, Galvis has played for the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, and Cincinnati Reds.   Last season with the Reds, Galvis batted .220 with seven home runs and 16 runs batted in.  Galvis played 33 of those games at shortstop, with 16 appearances at second base.

Phillies Announce 2021 Coaching Staff


Spring Training - as far as we know - is still ready to begin in just about a month's time.  As the Phillies begin to pack up and head South for Spring Training, the Phillies have announced their 2021 coaching staff.  The staff is overall about what was expected.  However, the Phillies seem to have eliminated one of the coaching positions.

A rundown of the staff is as follows:

  • Rob Thomson, bench coach
  • Caleb Cotham, pitching coach
  • Joe Dillon, hitting coach
  • Pedro Guerrero, assistant hitting coach
  • Dave Lundquist, bullpen coach
  • Paco Figueroa, first base coach
  • Dusty Wathan, third base coach
  • Bobby Meacham, coaching assistant
  • Juan Castro, infield coach
  • Bob Stumpo, bullpen catcher/catching coach
  • Greg Brodzinski, bullpen catcher/catching coach
  • Mike Calitri, quality assurance coach

The staff does not feature an assistant pitching coach in 2021.  Presumably, Lundquist will handle many of the duties he held with that title last season, though he will take up residence in the bullpen during games.  The Phillies chose not to retain Jim Gott, who held the bullpen coach role for three seasons and whose contract expired.

Report: Phillies Interested in Free Agent Sanchez

Phillies manager Joe Girardi won the National League Manager of the Year award in 2006 as manager of the Florida Marlins.  15 years later, the Phillies are reportedly interested in one of the pitchers from that starting staff.  That would be free agent Anibal Sanchez, who spent the last two seasons with the Washington Nationals.'s Jon Morosi reported that the Phillies were interested on a video posted to his Instagram account:

Sanchez probably would be a lower-cost option given than he is now 36 years old.

The Phillies currently have five starting pitchers on their roster, all right-handed: Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Spencer Howard.  As we saw in the shortened 2020 season, Howard is still young, and Velasquez remains unpredictable.  The Phillies need depth.

Sanchez was 4-5 with a 6.62 earned run average in 11 starts.


Phillies Plans for 2021’s Up-the-middle Alignment

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Time is the enemy of impatient Philadelphia Phillies fans because the free-agent market is only now percolating, but they will magnify each piece acquired by another franchise as a defeat. However, the game isn’t over in the fifth inning if you’re behind by a run or two.


Inside Out:

As the Phillies faithful know, today’s baseball usually doesn’t honor glove-only regulars. Now, even middle infielders can hit .280 with 20 home runs, but the player who only makes highlighted gems with the leather usually doesn’t play daily. Offense also counts.    


“I think the important point is the turning point in combining offense and defense in a reasonable way.” - Fred Ikle

It wasn’t so long ago the defense was up the middle, and the offense was on the corners. Basically, catchers, middle infielders and center fielders combined with pitching to keep runs off the scoreboard. And power and run production were on the shoulders of the first baseman, third sacker, the right fielder and left fielder.                              

In today’s game, up-the-middle defenders can bat in RBI slots, which are now the two and four holes. And even big men have provided excellent glovework in a demanding position like shortstop. So, only clubs with many offensive weapons can carry a leather-only regular.  

While many supporters of major league organizations immediately want a resolution for most free agents, the chasm between management and players is now narrowing. Basically, the gap is due to 2021’s monetary uncertainty, the pandemic and vaccinations.   

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