Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is slated to hit free agency after the 2020 season - whether or not games are played. Though the two-time All-Star is confident he and other high-profile players will be fine on the open market, he admits there's a lot of uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think that the top guys out there are going to be wanted,” Realmuto told Matt Gelb of The Athletic. "There are going to be more than five, six, seven, eight - whatever it is, however many teams are really wanting to compete. Those teams are going to be there to spend the money that they've always spent, in my opinion. Now, there will be a lot of teams that might have to cut back financially. The free agents might feel the wrath of that. But in my opinion, I think the top tier of guys always seem to find a way to get their money.
"But it could be bad. And I hope this isn't the case, but it could be bad for the mid-tier free agents to the lower-tier guys. There might be a lot more minor-league signings next year than there normally are. Which would be unfortunate. But this pandemic has been pretty tough on the game."
The 29-year-old said his camp had only reached the early stages of extension talks with the Phillies before the COVID-19 crisis interrupted spring training and indefinitely delayed the regular season. The team had not made a formal offer when MLB announced its hiatus, though Realmuto said he believed "things were about to start moving pretty quickly."
Realmuto is coming off his first season with the Phillies after they acquired him in a trade with the Miami Marlins prior to the 2019 campaign. He hit .275/.328/.493 with 25 home runs and 83 RBIs in 145 games with Philadelphia, earning down-ballot MVP votes and his first Gold Glove.