Extend Andrew Knapp instead. End of article.
…Alright, just kidding.

Now that I have your attention, it’s time to talk about something that has not, and will not, go to rest.

Signing JT Realmuto to a long-term deal before he becomes a free agent after this season is obviously at the top of the Phillies’ to-do list. Extending the 29-year-old backstop should be a no-doubter. He is the best catcher in baseball, and it’s hard to even argue that anyone else is in his league judging by what he showed not only last year, but what he has shown so far during this shortened season.

JT Realmuto is going to get PAID. Is the payday going to come from the Phillies? Or someone else? I guess time will tell.

The Phils’ front office would be foolish to let him walk away, but weirder things have happened.

We already know that this front office of Klentak and Co. really has no grasp on how to build around guys like Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola and company. Sure, Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm could be the real deal(s). Rhys Hoskins could turn back into his power-hitting self. Zack Wheeler and Didi could continue to provide that veteran presence.

The long-term success of this team, though, lies in the hands of their all-star backstop. If they don’t bring him back, whether it be a deal during this season or during the offseason, there honestly could be a crowd of people with pitchforks outside of CBP the day he signs elsewhere.

With all that said, the real question is one that the Phillies have likely been asking themselves all along:

What is a realistic contract offer for JT Realmuto?

10 YEARS 500 MILLION. #SignJT. #BCIB. #Whatever. We all think the Phils should do whatever it takes, but when it comes down to it, there needs to be a realistic deal laid out on the table.

If JT was a 25-year-old shortstop, or center fielder, or basically anywhere but catcher, he might already be signed. Catchers have been so hard to project, as so many have had shortened careers because of the toll catching takes on one’s body. The likes of Yadier Molina, who is in his 17th (and is current hurt mind you), don’t come around very often anymore. Many catchers turn into first basemen (Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Carlos Santana) at some point in their careers. JT has already shown he can play there. Does that increase or decrease his value?

You could go on all day and argue what would and wouldn’t make Realmuto valuable enough for a certain deal. I’ll save you the time and get right into what you might see JT get once he finally puts pen to paper.

Let’s start with what other catchers are getting paid. Here are the top 5 highest-paid catchers this season (via spotrac.com):

  1. Buster Posey: 22.17M
  2. Yadier Molina: 20M
  3. Yasmani Grandal: 18.25M
  4. Salvador Perez: 14.2M
  5. Wilson Ramos: 10.25M

Let’s look at the top 2 on this list, Buster and Yadi.

Yadi signed a 3 yr/$60M extension in 2018

and will actually be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason. Yadi was 35 when he signed his deal. Posey signed what is still the biggest deal for a catcher back in 2013 when he signed an 8 yr/$159M contract with the Giants. Posey was 26 at that time.

JT is basically right in the middle of those two age-wise from when they signed their deals. Both players had 2 World Series Rings when they signed their deals, to JT’s zero. Yadi was an 8-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove award winner, and Posey, at just 26, already had a Rookie of the Year and an NL MVP under his belt. So far, Realmuto is a 2-time All-Star and won his first Gold Glove last season.

It might be a little unfair to compare where JT is at before he gets paid compared to these guys, but it’s worth a look. Could he have as many accolades as these two when all is said and done? Only time will tell. Odds are that he adds a number of All-Star appearances and Gold Glove awards by the time his career is over. Heck, if he plays like he did during the better part of this season so far, he could even hang around the NL MVP conversation (or AL; who knows where he’ll end up if he leaves Philly).

I think it’s safe to say that if you take a little bit of what we know about the careers of these 2 men who are making about $22M and $20M per year respectively, JT should fall right around that number.

Now it comes down to how long you sign him for. Does JT get closer to the deal Posey signed, which would be a pretty long deal for a catcher? Or do you see something closer to Molina’s deal?

Considering Realmuto’s aforementioned age falls right in the middle of the two, the length of his contract should likely fall in the middle of the lengths of their deals also. With Yadi’s being a 3-year deal with him much older, and Posey’s being a long-term deal at a young age, Realmuto’s contract will likely be a middle ground between those as well.

With all of these factors to play off of, and based off of what we know about JT’s versatility and athleticism, he is honestly of a different breed than the other catchers in the game right now, and that’s why I believe his ultimate long-term deal will look something like this:

7 years for $165 million // AAV of $23.57M

Yes, we are giving JT the largest contract for a catcher in MLB history, and for good reason. First of all, when Posey signed his deal in 2013, the game was completely different contracts-wise. We’ve seen guys like Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout sign for north of $300M-$400M within the last 7 years since Posey got paid. Guys are getting paid more now, so it’s only right that Realmuto gets to reap the benefits of that as well.

A catcher who typically is guaranteed at least a day off per week, as opposed to the aforementioned high-paid outfielders who are expected to play close to 162 games (in a normal season), reduces his value just a bit if you were to compare him to one of them and wonder why he doesn’t get $25M-$30M a year.

With that said, he deserves to be the highest-paid player at this prime position. He’s still in his prime. If he stays healthy, he’s essentially going to be an automatic .275-.285 BA 20-30 HR 80-100 RBI guy for the rest of his career, and that’s a lot to expect out of a catcher.

This doesn’t even include his defensive value, which was historically good last season, leading to his first Gold Glove. The fact that anyone even still thinks about running on him is comical.

I also gave the 29-year-old just as many years as Posey got at 26. Realmuto being able to play 1st base is a nice luxury to have in case his knees do ever give up on him as the years go by. It has worked for successful catchers in the past. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and he has a path similar to Molina’s, though. If he makes it to 36 still being the best backstop in baseball, this deal would honestly be a bargain.

There’s no doubt that Realmuto is going to get PAID. Will it be during the 2020 season or the offseason? Will it be the Phillies dishing out the cash or someone else? We shall see. All I know is that this man 100% deserves what is coming his way.

Oh yeah, #SignJT.

Bryce Harper | Blogs & Videos | Barstool Sports

Yeah, what Bryce said.

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