Here's where the Phils stand with Realmuto

Dombrowski: Club continuing conversations; provides other updates

January 18th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- Archie Bradley knows well.

Both grew up in Oklahoma, which is just one reason why Bradley is asking the Phillies to re-sign the best catcher in baseball.

“#SignJT,” Bradley tweeted Monday morning.

Bradley’s sentiment echoes those of Bryce Harper and every other Phillies fan across the country. The Phils sound more optimistic about their chances than in the past, for what it is worth. The Athletic reported on Friday that the Phillies offered Realmuto a five-year contract worth “just north” of $100 million. It is well below Realmuto’s asking price at the end of last Spring Training -- he hoped to land a $200 million deal -- and possibly below the record average annual value for a catcher. Joe Mauer’s record AAV is $23 million, which he received when he signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Twins in March 2010.

The Phils would need to offer Realmuto more than $115 million on a five-year deal to beat that.

“We do have interest and we’ll continue to try to speak with him,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.

Dombrowski knows the Phillies need Realmuto. But just in case, they have discussed Plans Bs.

“We hope that we don't have to go to those,” Dombrowski said. “But I think throughout your career, one thing you learn heading into a winter, you need to be flexible and adjust from one thing to another depending upon what takes place. We have different plans. We have different rankings of players -- who may be available and who's not, who is available in trade and who is still out there from free agency. We're prepared for something we hope doesn't happen.”

Perhaps it is reading the tea leaves too much, but Dombrowski doesn’t sound too pessimistic about the Phillies’ payroll situation. Maybe managing partner John Middleton has provided him just enough flexibility to re-sign Realmuto and shortstop , and even round out the rest of the rotation and bullpen with non-roster invites to veterans.

“When I first came on board, we didn’t really set a budget,” Dombrowski said. “I was given a general number. I’ve got a pulse for what it is. I can’t say it’s etched in stone, but I have a pulse for what it is.”

If Dombrowski can get Realmuto and a shortstop and make a few more minor moves, maybe the Phillies can surprise a few people. It is his hope, anyway.

“There are just too many good players on the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team to be thinking about transitioning,” Dombrowski said. “We're thinking about winning. That's what we're going to try to do. I think we're in a position where if we can make a couple moves with some of the players that we have, I don't know why we can't compete to win. Sure, we're not going to be the favorite to win our division with some of the other clubs there. But I haven't always been on clubs that have been favored that have ended up winning our division.”

Dombrowski touched on other topics on Monday, too:

Odúbel Herrera
The Phillies are paying the outfielder $10 million this year, but will he have an opportunity to win a job? Herrera has not played in the big leagues since May 2019 following his arrest on a charge of simple assault of his girlfriend. He is no longer on the 40-man roster.

“We’re still in a position where we are discussing that internally,” Dombrowski said. “I know he has done a lot himself as far as addressing the situation that took place in counseling, but it’s something that we still have to continue to talk through from an internal perspective.”

The rotation
The Phillies need more help in the rotation, but they might not have much to spend as they pursue Realmuto and Gregorius.

“Ideally, we’d like to add some depth somewhere,” Dombrowski said. “Sometimes, they’re non-roster invitees who can come in and pitch. We have some young arms who we really like. I’m not sure how close they are to contributing right now. Maybe they could grow over the next year and step up. From an ideal perspective, it's something we’re at least looking to see if we could find.”