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Realmuto's outlook unchanged after arb ruling

February 21, 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- J.T. Realmuto says he is focused on the upcoming season and has not thought about his future with the Phillies after losing his arbitration case Wednesday. Realmuto, whose base salary in 2019 was $5.9 million, will make $10 million in '20 -- an arbitration record for a

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- J.T. Realmuto says he is focused on the upcoming season and has not thought about his future with the Phillies after losing his arbitration case Wednesday.

Realmuto, whose base salary in 2019 was $5.9 million, will make $10 million in '20 -- an arbitration record for a catcher. He was asking for $12.4 million.

“Right now I’m here, I’m trying to get ready for this season, I’m trying to prep for this season,” Realmuto said. “What we went through in arbitration in the hearing doesn’t change anything in my outlook.”

While the Phillies may want to soon begin extension talks with the 29-year-old catcher, Realmuto deflected many of the questions that had to do with the current status of any chatter. He added that he hasn’t thought about any likelihood of starting the season without an extension in place.

“I haven’t really thought about that yet, to be honest,” Realmuto said. “Me and my agent have been focused on arbitration now for the last couple of months. We haven’t had those conversations. Like I said the last time we talked, we’ll have those conversations and relay them to [general manager Matt Klentak]."

Realmuto had arguably his best season as a pro in 2019, when he set career highs in home runs (25), doubles (36), RBIs (83) and slugging percentage (.493). He received an All-Star nod for the second straight year, also earning his first Gold Glove Award and second consecutive Silver Slugger Award. Realmuto also boasted a team-best 5.7 fWAR.

Those numbers support the belief that Realmuto may be looking for a contract that could equal or surpass the $23 million annual average salary that Joe Mauer signed with the Twins before the 2010 season.

Buster Posey will be the highest-paid catcher in the Majors in 2020 at $22.18 million.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Realmuto said. “I can’t predict the future. I don’t know where we’re going to go with it. Obviously we’ll have those discussions and whether it matches up or not.”

Manager Joe Girardi said earlier in the week he thought Realmuto had a great attitude and did not expect any changes regardless of how the arbitration case turned out.

“I think he’s a smart enough man and he understands that, 'This is one year and then I’m a free agent,'" Girardi said. “'I’m not going to let this get in the way of my playing and I need to have a really good year.'”