Admit it, you were hoping that there would be some last minute announcement that J.T. Realmuto was re-signing with the Phillies rather than enter free agency. That would have been nice. Unfortunately, the best catcher in baseball heads the list of eight Phillies who filed for free agency on Tuesday.
Realmuto is the biggest name, but shortstop Didi Gregorius was a key component for his one season with the Phillies. Thanks to an injury, Gregorius was only able to find a one-year deal for $14-million with the Phillies, but after his performance in 2020, more years and more dollars are headed his way.
Joining the two as free agents are starter Jake Arrieta, relievers Jose Alvarez, Tommy Hunter, David Robertson, Brandon Workman and outfielder Jay Bruce.
In a perfect world, the Phillies would love to have Realmuto back on the roster for a significant number of years and having Gregorius for another season might be of interest as well. With prospect Bryson Stott moving close to being major league ready at the shortstop position, the Phillies aren’t likely to offer Gregorius the long-term deal he is likely to find elsewhere.
It’s likely that the Phillies would consider making a qualifying offer to Realmuto and/or Gregorius. That offer would would be a one-year, $18.9-million deal, which was set by Major League Baseball. Realmuto would be unlikely to accept the offer, but it may be interesting to see if Gregorius would accept the offer and return to the Phillies for one season.
Among the other free agents, only Alvarez and Bruce would make any sense to have back with the team. Alvarez spent most of the abbreviated season on the IL after being hit in the groin by a line drive. Bruce also spent time on the IL, but served the team well, primarily as a left-handed bat off the bench. Bruce might find himself having to accept a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, which would carry no considerable risk for the Phillies.