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:
Braves circling on free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to league sources. Other teams on the west coast are expressing interest.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 21, 2021
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.