Bryce Harper yells ‘sign him’ after J.T. Realmuto hits scrimmage homer
Bryce Harper continued his crusade to convince the Philadelphia Phillies to sign J.T. Realmuto to a new deal on Wednesday after the catcher put on a show at the plate during an intrasquad scrimmage at Citizens Bank Park.
After Realmuto — who is slated to hit free agency after the 2020 season — connected on two-run homer, Harper could be seen yelling “Sign him!” afterward, as seen in footage shared by NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Bryce Harper really yelled "sign him" after J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run homer in summer camp. pic.twitter.com/Vp9FGfpyYg— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 8, 2020
Harper has been a fierce advocate of late for his teammate Realmuto, who joined the Phillies in a trade with the Marlins ahead of the 2019 season.
“If the Phillies don’t end up signing him back, it would be terrible. It would be sad,” Harper said last week. “Everybody in this organization wants to see him in red pinstripes for the rest of his career. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”
The Phillies and Realmuto were in the midst of contract extension talks in March when the coronavirus pandemic halted spring training, and with it any ongoing league business, including contract negotiations.
With the moratorium on transactions, signings and negotiations now lifted, it’s likely those talks will resume.
Realmuto stands to earn a prorated $3.7 million for the upcoming 60-game season after his salary was set at $10 million when the Phillies came out on top in arbitration.
Realmuto slashed at a .275/.328/.493 clip and hit a career-high 25 home runs last season in an All-Star campaign. Reports have surfaced that Realmuto’s reps are seeking a contract in the range of $26 million per season, but havoc wreaked upon MLB teams’ financial situation due to the shutdown will complicate matters for the superstar catcher.
All that being said, the onus is on the Phillies to lock up Realmuto for the long haul. After all, it’s critical that the Phillies keep Harper — who is with the team for over another decade — as happy as possible. Signing Realmuto to a long-term deal is one way to accomplish as much.