Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto has been an obvious extension candidate for a while, but nothing has come together yet as he nears his final season of team control. With the coronavirus pushing back the start of the season for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t appear a new Realmuto pact will materialize in the near term. The Phillies and Realmuto have hit the pause button on negotiations for the time being, general manager Matt Klentak revealed Tuesday (via Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer).
As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd explained Tuesday, there isn’t a roster freeze or a moratorium on extensions, so teams and players aren’t prohibited from hammering out long-term agreements. On the other hand, with the start of the 2020 campaign off the table for a while, there’s a lot less urgency for the two sides to get something done. The Phillies had been prioritizing a preseason extension for Realmuto, though. Therefore, it stands to reason they’ll get back to work on one when there’s clarity regarding the date of Opening Day, if not sooner.
While Realmuto at least has a contract for this year, players from the Phillies and other teams who signed minor league deals containing opt-out clauses are facing quite a bit of uncertainty.
Klentak spoke on their statuses, saying: “We do not have clarity. There’s a possibility we will have to make some of those decisions this week.”
Philadelphia has a few established veterans who landed non-guaranteed pacts with opt-outs and were competing for big league roles before the postponement of spring training. As Lauber notes, infielders Neil Walker and Logan Forsythe and relievers Anthony Swarzak and Francisco Liriano may all exit their deals Thursday. Speculatively, however, MLB could push the deadlines back for players in those situations.