Phillies GM Klentak says landscape has changed regarding contract talks with Realmuto

Phillies and Realmuto to talk extension
Perhaps the biggest non-COVID storyline entering camp before the COVID pandemic centered around the prospects of inking catcher J.T. Realmuto to a contract extension before the start of the 2020 season.

The two sides had to halt conversations when Major League Baseball placed a moratorium on contract negotiations back in mid-March when Spring Training came to a stop.

So, where does this leave the Phillies and Realmuto?

"Probably too soon to tell," Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Monday.

"The landscape that we left in March is different from the one we return to now. We just have to see how that manifests itself in our discussions. We still love the player, we'd still love to have him in red pinstripes for the long haul. But there’s a lot of uncertainty in the game right now on a variety of levels. We just need to play that out."

Given the economic ramifications of playing in front of an empty Citizens Bank Park and the financial uncertainty surrounding all of baseball, it's possible the organization pivots elsewhere and abandons the idea of signing an expensive long-term deal with Realmuto.

Klentak said he has not spoken recently with Realmuto's agent about a potential deal.

"Candidly, we've been kind of nose to the ground — intake screenings and getting people here — so I haven't touched base with them," Klentak said. "As far as a timeline, I just don't know. I need to talk to them."

It remains to be seen how the designated hitter now being in the National League will impact signings and transactions, but it's possible that Realmuto could bring more value as he could see limited wear-and-tear from less time behind the dish. This added value could bring a higher price tag.

There is no guarantee, however, that teams will be looking to make huge financial commitments entering 2021, meaning Realmuto may have to settle for less than he had anticipated pre-pandemic.

The two sides are expected to resume talks in the coming weeks, but whatever momentum existed in March may no longer exist.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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