So many things are up in the air as the Phillies and Major League Baseball wait on the coronavirus scare, and one of them, unfortunately, are contract extension negotiations between the team and their star catcher, J.T. Realmuto.
General manager Matt Klentak announced that the two sides have suspended talks for now, given the uncertainty facing the game over the next few weeks and months.
For now, Major League Baseball hasn’t put a freeze on rosters or halted transactions. But the commissioner’s office and Players’ Association continue to discuss myriad topics, and absent more direction, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Tuesday that the team and Realmuto agreed to table negotiations on an extension that had been considered a high-priority item before the start of the now-delayed season. - Scott Lauber, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Realmuto, who is in the final year of his current deal, is expected to be seeking a contract in the area of five years and $115-125 million, which would make him the highest paid catcher in MLB history.
Other issues Klentak said are unreslved include opt-out clauses for minor league invitees who have clauses in their contracts that require them to be released if they’re not guaranteed a spot on the team’s 26-man roster. In the Phillies’ case, pitchers Francisco Liriano and Anthony Swarzak and position players Neil Walker and Logan Forsythe all have opt-out clauses in their minor league deals that trigger on Thursday.
Klentak also said there is “no update” on the condition of reliever Seranthony Dominguez, who re-injured his elbow shortly before spring training was shut down. A Tommy John surgery for the young right-hander appears more likely.
One other note, the Phillies have joined the other 29 teams in the league in donating one million dollars to a pool that will go towards paying season workers who are not getting paid during the suspension of the start of the 2020 season. Baseball officials say the season will not begin until mid-May at the earliest, but even that could be a optimistic start time.