Remember back to the COVID shorten season of 2020. No fans in the stands, quiet ballparks, the Pandemic crew with their air horns, etc. I do and what I specifically remember about that time was the heavy and vocal campaigning by Bryce Harper for the Phillies to “sign him” in reference to signing catcher JT Realmuto to a “much deserving” long-term contract. Nobody at the time would know how real Realmuto’s struggles would be at this point.
Show him the Money
Fast forward to the 2020 offseason and the debate that raged about signing a catcher who was fast approaching 30 and what the implications of that would be. As now we know John Middleton does not have an aversion to spending money and, in the end, he did that by inking Realmuto into a five-year $115,500,000 contract. Locking him up through the 2025 season.
There was a mixed bag of emotions with that contract, but the majority seemed to be on the side of keeping JT here in pinstripes for years to come. The Phillies since the 2019 season have been working off the mentality that they are a win-now type of team and an investment in Realmuto fits that win now mentality.
Since Realmuto signed that deal in the offseason of 2020 his performance has been anything but real. Lackluster at-bats, rumblings from the pitching staff that they find his calling of games frustrating, injuries, and the seemingly need for more days off than expected are just a few of the issues that are making this deal anything but real.
Despite last night where Realmuto had 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 1 RBI against the Braves JT has struggled. Taking into consideration his performances at the plate during the 2021 season and through the first 41 games of the 2022 season one has to wonder about our investment. Here are the numbers through that timespan. 160 games, 610 at-bats, 83 runs scored, 155 hits, 30 doubles, 5 triples, 19 home runs, 82 runs batted in, and an average of .244. Not numbers worthy of $115,500,000.
How Real are Realmuto’s Struggles?
When you bring up the JT conversation here in Philly most often you are politely pushed aside and pacified with something to the effect of “don’t worry he will be fine, I have no doubt that he will pull himself out of it”. I have been hearing that since the all-star break of last season. It’s time to let the criticism rain down on JT we have no problem doing that to just about all of our athletes or do we?
There are a handful of athletes that have passed through here that we don’t unleash the venom of the Philly sports fan on. Harper, Wentz, Embid, Giroux when he was here, just to name a few. Now you can add JT’s name to that list. For a town that prides itself on knowledgeable sports fans, and a tougher than nails approach to holding our athletes accountable we are not keeping it real with JT.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.