It appears J.T. Realmuto will need to find a new home for next season.
Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton recently said the club isn't in a position to re-sign the catcher or any other big-ticket free agents due to suffering massive financial losses following the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign without fans, reports Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
Madden initially reported Middleton citing the losses at nearly $2 billion. Meanwhile, a person familiar with the Phillies' finances said the team lost $145 million, according to Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press.
Realmuto, who spent the past two seasons with the Phillies, is one of the top free agents available this offseason.
The news is unlikely to go over well with outfielder Bryce Harper, who has been clamoring for the Phillies to re-sign Realmuto for several months. Fans, meanwhile, recently showed their displeasure toward their club when the backstop was left out of a Thanksgiving graphic.
Realmuto is drawing interest from several other clubs in free agency, including the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets, which further complicates matters for the Phillies.
The 29-year-old has established himself as one of MLB's elite catchers and is expected to acquire a hefty, multi-year contract even though teams remain unsure about how to distribute their payrolls ahead of 2021.
Since 2018, Realmuto has authored a .274/.336/.489 slash line with 57 home runs and 189 RBIs. He also leads all qualified catchers in WAR and stolen bases during that same period, according to FanGraphs.