Realmuto agreed to a five-year, $115.5 million deal to return to the Phillies on Tuesday, Craig Mish of SportsGrid.com reports. There was no better player to fill the Realmuto-shaped hole in Philadelphia than Realmuto himself, so it makes sense that he and the Phillies were able to come to terms on a deal that suits both sides. Realmuto's average annual value of $23.1 million will be the highest ever for a catcher. It's hard to say the contract is undeserved, as he's been the top backstop in the league over the last several seasons. Heading into his age-30 season, Realmuto will presumably start declining sometime soon, but he showed no signs of doing so last season, hitting .266/.349/.491 with 11 homers and four steals in 47 games. He should remain a key piece of a decent lineup in a hitter-friendly park for the foreseeable future.
Realmuto will reject his one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer from the Phillies on Wednesday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Realmuto was expected to reject the qualifying offer as he seeks a multi-year deal in free agency, but the team that signs him will now have to forfeit a draft pick as compensation. The 29-year-old had a career-best .840 OPS with 11 home runs and 32 RBI during the shortened 2020 season and figures to be one of the most appealing players on the open market.
Realmuto was extended an $18.9 million qualifying offer by the Phillies on Sunday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. Realmuto will certainly decline the qualifying offer, but any team that signs him will now forfeit a draft pick as compensation, which could cost Realmuto a little money on the open market. However, as the clear top catcher in the game, he figures to be an appealing target for most competitive ball clubs this winter. He hit .266/.349/.491 with 11 home runs and four steals in 47 games in his age-29 season.
Realmuto will start at first base and will bat cleanup Wednesday against the Nationals. Realmuto has previously made four appearances at first base this season, but he'll be picking up his first start at the position Wednesday. Since Realmuto still not 100 percent healthy after recently missing a week and a half with a hip injury, the Phillies are reluctant to expose him to catching duties. Rhys Hoskins (elbow) is unlikely to return before Sunday's regular-season finale, so Realmuto could have the opportunity to make up to three more starts at the position after Wednesday. That may be enough to allow Realmuto to head into 2021 with eligibility at both catcher and first base in certain fantasy leagues.
Realmuto will bat cleanup as the designated hitter in the second half of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Nationals. Previous reports indicated that Realmuto wouldn't be asked to play twice on one day immediately after returning from a nine-day absence with a hip injury. The Phillies' loss in the afternoon game appears to have given them a sense of urgency, however, so they'll push the star catcher to his limits Tuesday with their playoff hopes very much up in the air.