Premier catchers rarely enter free agency, but this year the best catcher in the game is on the market: JT Realmuto. He is the second most wanted free agent on the market, behind Trevor Bauer, putting him in line for a massive payday. Realmuto is both an offensive and defensive threat making him a desirable player for all 30 clubs. Any team could use his talent, but suitors may be limited due to the amount of money a club would have to commit to him. Regardless, any team with Realmuto immediately moves closer toward World Series contention.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Realmuto has played for the Phillies each of the last two seasons and has been extremely productive for them. Although there have been some reports doubting whether or not the Phillies would be willing to give Realmuto the contract he wants, it is important for their organization that they pay him. Philadelphia has already given a $330 million contract to the face of their franchise in Bryce Harper. Harper has publicly advocated for his club to re-sign Realmuto and would be upset if they did not do so. Not to mention, when they traded for Realmuto, they sent their top prospect in Sixto Sanchez to Miami. Sanchez is already looking like a future all-star, so giving him up for two years of Realmuto would be a huge disappointment, unless the Phillies can get the catcher to stay.
2. Washington Nationals
Washington won the World Series just two years ago and still have the majority of that core still intact. Led by the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, their starting rotation is as dangerous as any in the MLB. The one thing that the current Nationals’ team lacks compared to the one that one the World Series is someone to hit behind Juan Soto. They had Anthony Rendon to drive in Soto, one of the best young stars in the league, which to a lot of runs during the 2019 season. Rendon signed with the Angles during the offseason and left a hole in the Nationals lineup, resulting in them finishing last in the NL East. Realmuto would be the perfect replacement for Rendon offensively and could bring Washington back to the playoffs.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays were beneficiaries of the expanded playoffs during the 2020 season. They surpassed expectations and managed to secure the 8 seed, but lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round. Toronto has a good young core on the offensive side of the ball in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, but they still lack a veteran presence. In order to be competitive in the AL East once again and take a step forward in their rebuild, they need to sign a big free agent. The Blue Jays need to take advantage of the Rays losing Blake Snell and Charlie Morton and make move to try to challenge the New York Yankees. Combined with a rotation that has Hyun-Jin Ryu and Nate Pearson, Realmuto gives them exactly what they need to compete for a wild card spot in 2021.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
The NL Central will likely be the worst division in baseball next year. Nobody knows who is going to win this division, but the Cardinals will definitely be in the conversation. Yadier Molina, who has been a mainstay of the team for 16 years, is now a free agent and it is uncertain if St. Louis will re-sign him. This could result in a hole for the Cardinals at catcher and Realmuto could be the perfect replacement. At this point, Realmuto is definitely a better offensive player than Molina, but he may even be better at defense as well. Although Molina is a nine-time Gold Glove winner, he is past his prime, and Realmuto is just entering his. The Cardinals need a high-level catcher to replace Molina and be the favorites in the NL Central, making Realmuto a clear fit in St. Louis.
“From Our Haus to Yours“