While eyeing a couple superstar free agents, the Philadelphia Phillies appear to be motivated to bolster the catching position to complement and/or part ways with Jorge Alfaro. The club "recently checked in" on Miami Marlins' All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, and on Tuesday signed C/1B Drew Butera to a min0r-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp.
The Phillies, "like many teams," monitor markets for top available players both in trades and free agency, Rosenthal noted, adding: "Continued availability of Realmuto led to renewed communication. No indication deal is close."
The Phillies were most recently linked to the five-year veteran on December 4, reported to be a "longshot" to acquire him. Realmuto, 27, earned his first All-Star nod and Silver Slugger Award this past season, after slashing .277/.340/.484 with 30 doubles, 21 home runs and 74 RBI spanning 125 games and 531 plate appearances. Realmuto committed just seven errors through 951 innings and 879 chances behind the plate, while also fielding a perfect 78 innings at first base. He has been on the trade block this offseason as the Marlins continue their rebuild.
Butera, 35, is a nine-year veteran that has slashed .201/.258/.299 with 53 doubles, 19 home runs, 111 RBI, 82 walks and 281 strikeouts spanning 497 games since debuting in 2010. The Evansville, Indiana, native would make $1.3 million and $200,000 in incentives if he makes the majors; he has a March 21 opt-out, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.