CLEVELAND -- Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto probably expected to have a few traveling companions from New York on Sunday to tonight’s All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Progressive Field.
He might have expected a private jet packed with some of his Phillies teammates.
But Realmuto is the Phillies’ lone representative on the National League All-Star team. He entered the break batting .273 with 10 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .767 OPS in 85 games. He is tied for 42nd in baseball with 2.6 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.
His biggest contributions have come defensively. He ranks fifth in framing runs (6.2), according to Baseball Prospectus. He is tied for fifth in Runs Extra Strikes, according to Statcast. He also leads baseball in pop time (1.88 seconds) and is third in arm strength (87.4 mph), according to Statcast.
Realmuto’s Phillies tenure, albeit brief, has been encouraging enough to lead him to consider thoughts about an extension for his contract, which expires after the 2020 season.
“Everything I’ve experienced in Philadelphia has been awesome,” Realmuto said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to spending the rest of my career here."
Does Realmuto consider it necessary to negotiate before next season begins?
“The timing doesn’t matter for me,” he said. “I just show up and play baseball everyday. If an extension comes, it comes, whether it’s tomorrow of the offseason or July.”
Realmuto joined the Phillies in February, when the club sent catcher Jorge Alfaro, top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and Minor League pitcher Will Stewart to Miami. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said at the time that they acquired the best catcher in baseball.
Realmuto has been looking like that player more and more recently. He hit .406 (13-for-32), with four doubles, six RBIs and a .988 OPS in his final eight games of the first half.
If Realmuto gets going -- along with Bryce Harper and Jean Segura -- it should be a more interesting second half for the Phillies, who are in third place in the National League East and trail the first-place Braves by 6 1/2 games.