To keep their star player behind the plate, the Philadelphia Phillies will award J.T. Realmuto the largest contract given to a free agent catcher. The two sides agreed on Tuesday to a five-year, $115.5 million deal, topping the previous record for highest annual pay for a catcher — $23 million, set by Joe Mauer in 2011 — by $100,000 a year.
The deal was confirmed by a person familiar with Realmuto’s contract who was not authorized to comment publicly because it was pending a physical examination. The deal was first reported by Craig Mish.
All winter, the Phillies, who disappointed in 2020 despite having a talented roster, were seen as the favorite to retain Realmuto, the clear-cut best catcher in baseball.
Realmuto, who will turn 30 in March, is a two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger, one-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a rare dual threat at catcher, known for his standout athleticism.