MLB

MLB roundtable: Which team will sign free agent J.T. Realmuto now that the Mets have a catcher?

The abbreviated 2020 MLB season is complete and the Los Angeles Dodgers are World Series champions. They defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to clinch their first title since 1988. Now that the offseason is underway, here are the important dates you need to know for the winter.

Throughout the offseason my fellow CBS Sports MLB scribes and I will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we suggested new names for the Cleveland franchise. This week we’re going to debate a top free agent’s destination.

Where will J.T. Realmuto land now that the Mets signed James McCann?

R.J. Anderson: Presumably somewhere on the East Coast. I suppose it’s possible the Angels strike here, but it feels like all the favorites are based in East divisions: the Phillies, the Nationals, the Yankees … it would even be fun to see the Blue Jays give him a run. I’m not sure which of those teams he’ll land with, to be honest, so I’ll just say he’ll be playing his home games in the Eastern time zone.

Dayn Perry: I’m going to say Blue Jays. They’re certainly not desperate at the catcher position, but they’re one of the rare teams that’s signaled a willingness to spend this winter. As well, they’ve been reported to have interest in Realmuto, and he’d provide a clear upgrade over what’s presently in place in Toronto. The Phillies seem to be slipping into austerity mode to some extent, and I’m not convinced the Nationals are going to spend like contenders this offseason. Likewise, I’m not convinced the Yankees are prepared to move on from Gary Sanchez just yet. Partly by process of elimination, I’ll say he lands with Toronto.

Matt Snyder: Really the only teams that made sense were the Mets and Phillies, with the latter sounding like they aren’t willing to spend the money Realmuto should be making. The Angels would be a great fit, but let me go with the Blue Jays. They’ve been connected in light rumors and that says to me they are at least in the ballpark on a willingness to pay for a big-time free agent. They have offensive firepower almost everywhere else and this would only add to it. 

Mike Axisa: I think the most likely outcome at this point is Realmuto returning to the Phillies. They want him badly and they didn’t hire Dave Dombrowski to not spend money. Now that the Mets are out of the running, the Phillies seem like Realmuto’s best bet to really cash in, and money usually decides these things. 

As for an off-the-board pick, how about the Tigers? None of their in-house catching options wow you (Grayson Greiner, Jake Rogers, etc.) and they have all that young pitching (Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, etc.). Why not invest in a top catcher to help lead and develop them? Think of the Tigers signing Realmuto like the Nationals signing Jayson Werth. That star free agent who shifts the direction of the franchise. Detroit signed Ivan Rodriguez after going 43-119 in 2003. I can’t think of a good reason to not do something similar with Realmuto this offseason.

Katherine Acquavella: I’ll say he stays with the Phillies, partly because I think Dave Dombrowski and Co. are going to give him the big paycheck and also partly because I think both sides really want it to happen. Re-upping Realmuto on a long-term deal gets the Phillies in a much better position to return to the playoffs. They’re in win-now mode, and while no team relies solely on one player for contention, keeping Realmuto means it’s one less hole to fill in the Phillies roster.



 

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