Phillies hang on to Realmuto in bumper five-year deal

2021-01-28 12:06:38

PHILADELPHIA-The "Sign JT!" chants from fans gathered outside the ballpark during the pandemic-altered season and echoed by Bryce Harper and many players on the Philadelphia Phillies were loud and clear. It's happening. The Philadelphia Phillies and two-time All-Star catcher JT Realmuto agreed Tuesday on a $115.5 million, five-year contract, two people familiar with the deal told Associated Press. Both people spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because Realmuto's deal was pending a successful physical. Realmuto gets $20 million next season, of which $10 million is deferred, with $5 million each payable in 2026 and 2027. He gets $23,875,000 in each of the final four years. He does not have a no-trade provision. The deal includes a $1 million assignment bonus if traded. Realmuto's average annual salary of $23.1 million will become the highest for a catcher, topping the $23 million Joe Mauer averaged in a $184 million, eight-year deal with the Minnesota Twins that covered 2011-18. Harper posted a photo of him and Realmuto celebrating a run on Instagram soon after the news broke. Reliever Archie Bradley wrote "SignJT" on Twitter after he signed a one-year deal last week. Realmuto was acquired from the Marlins in February 2019 in a trade that sent right-hander Sixto Sanchez and catcher Jorge Alfaro to Miami along with pitching prospect Will Stewart and $250,000 in international signing bonus pool allocation. Realmuto made his second National League All-Star team with the Phillies in 2019 and earned a Gold Glove. He had career highs in homers (25), RBIs (83) and slugging percentage (.493) that season. Realmuto, who turns 30 in March, hit .266 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a career-best OPS of .840 last season. He earned $3,703,704 prorated for the pandemic-shortened season from a $10 million salary. His deal is the second-largest of the offseason behind outfielder George Springer's $150 million, six-year contract with Toronto. Realmuto's market narrowed last month when the New York Mets went for a less expensive option and signed James McCann to a $40.6 million, four-year deal. The Phillies haven't had a winning season nor reached the postseason since 2011. They finished 28-32 under first-year manager Joe Girardi in 2020, missing a wild-card berth by one game. Retaining Realmuto, a fan favorite, was a priority for new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Giving Bradley a $6 million, one-year deal had been Philadelphia's most significant offseason move to this point. Semien joins Jays Meanwhile, shortstop Marcus Semien has agreed to an $18 million, one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the negotiations told Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the agreement was subject to a successful physical. Semien will become the second star and fourth free agent added by the Blue Jays during a slow offseason amid the pandemic. Apart from Springer a $150 million, six-year deal, Toronto also agreed to one-year contracts with right-handers Kirby Yates ($5.5 million) and Tyler Chatwood ($3 million) and re-signed left-hander Robbie Ray to an $8 million, one-year contract. Semien hit .223 with seven homers, 23 RBIs and .679 OPS in 53 games last season, his sixth with Oakland. He earned $4,814,815 in prorated pay from a $13 million salary. Semien finished third in AL MVP voting in 2019, when he hit 33 homers with 92 RBIs with an.892 OPS. Toronto went 32-28 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, finishing third in the AL East behind Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees and qualifying for the expanded postseason despite behind forced to play home games in Buffalo, New York, due to the Canadian government's travel restrictions. The Blue Jays were swept in two games by the AL champion Rays in a first-round series. They have an emerging young core and are adding major contracts while younger players such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. relatively low salaries because they remain shy of eligibility for arbitration. It is not clear where the Blue Jays will play home games when the 2021 season starts. AP