Phillies manager Joe Girardi was not shy to praise J.T. Realmuto on Friday.
If it were up to Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi, perennial All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto would have already been re-signed by now to return for a third season in red pinstripes.
But, as the saying goes, “it takes two to tango” — or, as the 2009 World Series-winning skipper told reporters Friday evening after the hiring of Caleb Cotham as pitching coach, it “always takes two parties to make a deal.”
“There are 30 teams that would love to have J.T.,” Girardi said. “We’re at the top of the list because we love him; but I can’t say exactly what’s going to happen because that’s not my job.”
Over the past two seasons, Realmuto played in 192 of the possible 222 games — 86.5 percent of the contests to be exact. For any catcher, let alone one like Realmuto that has tools in seemingly all facets of the game, that high figure is hard to come by.
Girardi said that all organizations, including the Phillies, love stability and knowing what they are going to get out of certain players on a daily basis. “That’s a manager’s dream,” Girardi continued, “when you know that you can pencil a guy’s name and you know exactly what you’re going to get, you trust they’re going to be ready to play every day, and that they’re going to be productive.”
All of the above attributes describe the now-free-agent Realmuto, per Girardi, who added: “I was around J.T. for 60 games and I loved having him. So [would] everyone else and that’s the difficult part for the Phillies … he’s so coveted.”
While making his likely final push for the organization to bring back the Gold Glover, two-time All-Star, and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Girardi acknowledged that his job is to manage the players that he is given, and the decision to re-sign Realmuto is largely out of his hands.
“My job is to make suggestions about what we need, who we need, where we have strengths, and where we don’t have strengths. But then, putting together the team is above me,” he said.
Girardi and seemingly every Phillies fan are surely on the same page right now — with having Realmuto as the team’s starting catcher in 2021 the top priority of the offseason. But, even if there is a mutual interest, sometimes the dominoes just do not fall in the right direction. Time will tell as the offseason continues.